How Kori’s wife suspected killers tried to cover up murder

GORDON OSEN ,News Journalist


In Summary
Mathenge alleged that Mungai told him, a fact ascertained by postmortem analysis, she hit Kamangara’s head with a pressure cooker
•She then allegedly told Mathenge to lie to the police that he had he saw Kori at Mungai’s house

“Have fun and don’t come back home.”

These were the last words Joseph Kori sent to his wife Mary Kamangara in a text message late on January 26 after he came home in Kiambu county and she wasn’t there.

He didn’t know that she had already been murdered — her head smashed with a pressure cooker allegedly wielded by his ex-lover in his ex-lover’s kitchen. The two women, who knew each other, had fought when Kamangara for the first time saw photos of her husband hanging in his ex-lover’s house, a court document says.

Kamangara’s fury-filled killing on January 26 was widely reported, depicted as stemming from a love triangle.

But, relying on sworn court documents, the Star can now describe in detail the gut-wrenching murder and the lengths to the killer went to cover it up, trying to deflect the blame and roping in an acquaintance to help her.

The documents paint a picture of a middle-class couple — Joseph and Mary —whose mutual trust and fidelity were stretched to the limit. Something had to give.

The statement recorded with police and filed in court by Michael Mathenge, the co-accused in the murder of the 40-year-old mother of two, lays the blame for the premeditated killing at the feet of Judi Mungai.

He describes Mungai’s desperate efforts to clean up the murder scene and cover her tracks. Then she called Maghenge to help her clean up, wrap the body in bedding and a carpet and dispose of it.

Mathenge, 36, says that he first met Mungai last year as a customer in his car hiring business.

This linked him to the slaying that two little boys motherless and 39-year-old widower Kori alone.

On that day, Mungai, who was Kori’s ex-mistress, called Mathenge to hire a V8 or Prado to run her errands. This was not available so he sent her a white Toyota Allion sedan.

After a busy day, Mathenge narrates, Mungai called him at about midnight, saying she could not drive the hired care out of Homeland Restaurant where, according to the statement, she had spent the whole day with Mary Kamangara.

Mathenge said  Mungai ordered him to go see her at Four Ways Estate, where she was living.

In a black Voxy car, he arrived at the estate, Daisy Court, after 1am, finding a restless Mungai alone in the parking lot and holding a sisal bag.

Mungai then went to her house and then left with Mathenge for Homeland Restaurant. At the restaurant, Mathenge claims, Mungai “ full glare of my vehicle’s headlights…walked to a vegetation fence and pick a Mercedes-Benz’s ignition keys and opened the vehicle”.

“She called me to the car and told me that the Mercedes-Benz [white, number KCC 068U indicated to have belonged to Kamangara] had no fuel and she had no money, thus she wanted cash Sh500…”

Mungai then said she had left the ignition keys of the hired car at her house, requiring them to drive back to collect it.

At her house, she parked the Mercedes-Benz’s across her door with the car’s left door open and lights on. “She then instructed me to follow her to her house, located on the third floor…she ushered me in and closed the door,” he writes.

“Thinking that she was calling to give me the keys of the hired car, she told me she had another story [narrating to me] how she met with her husband’s other wife at Homeland Hotel and compelled her that she takes her to her house to check some documents,” she wrote.

On arrival at (Mungai’s) house, Mathenge claimed Mungai told him, a fight broke out when Kamangara saw her husband’s photographs hanging on the wall.” They shouted bitter words and fought.

“Judy told me how she hit the woman with a pressure cooker and [she] fell on the carpet floor bleeding and instantly died as a result of the excess bleeding,” he wrote. This happened at about 7pm.

Mungai then cleaned the body, wrapped it with a blanket and bedsheets and kept it in the kitchen, he said. She also cleaned the floor.

“She asked me to see it at the kitchen but I could not stand it,” he said.

He was gripped by fear of being implicated in the crime and started walking out to his car. But Mungai would not let him go, following him and threatening that his fate would be like that of the body he’d just seen.

“She followed me closely behind and at the vehicle told me [that] all she said to me is between me and her and I must never reveal any of it, otherwise, she shall deal with me, and that from that moment I was to follow her instructions. I tried to drive away but she told me that I could not be allowed to pass the gate unless with her permission, and I only needed to cooperate,” he said.

Mathenge was now Mungai’s slave, following her instructions to the letter.

Disposal of the body

Mathenge told investigators that Mungai left him stranded at the parking lot and went for the body.

He would hear Mungai pull down the stairs something heavy wrapped in white bedclothes and loaded it into the Mercedes-Benz that belonged to Kamangara.

“..she pushed it into the rear seat [through the left door] and walked to the right side and pulled it inside before closing both doors,” he said.

Mungai then returned to the house and returned with a two black nylon paper bags with items inside before telling him that he would escort her to Kimbo area and “that she shall give instructions [once there].”

Both of them driving and him being in the front, they passed the gate with his car being searched and Mungai passing without a search.

She would them drive past him and in a short distance, stop at Kiambu Road junction “where she repeated to me that her instructions should be strictly followed and that I put off my phone as she watched and said that if I try to trick, I shall bear the mess.”

They drove toward Kiambu town and at the T-junction to Ruiru, Kamiti Road, they encountered a police checkpoint and were stopped.

“My Voxy was well searched even into the boot and inside…hers was not well checked, hence let through,” he wrote. They drove through Ruiru to Juja toll area before refilling at Regnol Petrol Station. They then took a murram road along Theta River to Gatundu but drove back to refuel her car.

Driving back again from Regnol filling station, the stopped in between Theta river at Courtesy dam “and she came to my car and told me that ‘this is my last destination, wait as I finish my mission’.”

“She walked down to the dam bank and came back to her car, she entered and reversed up to the bank, and then using the left door, she pulled down the very luggage wrapped in a white cloth towards the water edge. She unfolded the object off the cloth and carried them,” he wrote.

They would then speed off to the superhighway through Ruiru and then parked after some distance where Mungai would dispose off the contents of one of the paper bags inside a live fence.

They would drive another kilometre and stop to dispose of the second paper bag and its contents in a thicket.

Mathenge wrote that they would then drive to Kiambu town using the Ruiru-Tatu-Kiambu road to Githunguri where they would stop and throw the sisal bag “which I believed contained the blood-stained floor carpet”.

From here, he wrote, they drove to Kiamaiko shopping centre where the woman parked the car and “came to my vehicle while having her house car keys. I noted she was barefooted.”

Ensuring Silence

Mathenge claimed that with this mission accomplished, Mungai embarked on ensuring that he kept quiet over what he had seen, instructing that should the police call, he should maintain deniability.

“She then directed me to drive her back to the estate. On the way, she narrated to me how she murdered the deceased…” he wrote.

“..further, she told me that she was less concerned about all that I had seen but required me to kept my mouth shut,” he said

He added that on the evening of January 28, Mungai called him and instructed that should the police call, he should say that he found her with her husband and Kamangara’s body lying on the floor and in fear, left.

In the tail end of his statement, Mathenge spills the beans, describing what he saw and offloading the weight of his guilt on Mungai.

he dropped the bombshell: “I wish to confirm [that] it is Judy who murdered the deceased right inside her Four Ways house. The husband whose name I came to know through the media (Joseph Kori Karue), I never saw him, neither in the house nor compound.”

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