Witness Painfully Recalls Arson Attack Where Neighbor Set Fire to Wife and Grandmother

March 15, 2024

In an Eldoret court on Wednesday, a witness recounted how a man accused of murder locked his wife and grandmother in their respective houses before setting them on fire.

Susan Jeruto detailed to the court how her 35-year-old neighbor, Wilfred Kiprotich, locked his wife inside their house before setting it ablaze. She said the accused then proceeded to his grandmother’s house, where he similarly locked her inside before setting the house on fire, resulting in her death.

Kiprotich is charged with two counts of murder for the deaths of his wife, Magdalene Biwott, and grandmother, Valentine Jepkosgei, on November 12, 2021, at Tugen estate in Moiben sub-county, Uasin Gishu County.

The witness informed presiding Judge Robert Wananda that on the fateful morning, she woke up to the sound of wails from her neighbor’s three children, who were running toward her home.

“I came out of the house and asked the children what was happening at their home, and they said that their father wanted to kill them after locking their mother inside their family house and setting it on fire,” Jeruto testified with tears streaming down her cheeks.

“On hearing what had happened, I locked the children inside my house and rushed to my neighbor’s home, only to be met by a raging inferno that had engulfed two houses,” she added.

The witness said Kiprotich saw her approaching from a distance and proceeded to unlock the main house which was already on fire, and entered inside in an attempt to end his life.

In horror, Jeruto immediately raised an alarm, alerting other neighbors who rushed to the scene. They pulled out the suspect from the burning house before subjecting him to mob justice.

“The mob and police officers from Moiben police stations who arrived at the scene could however not rescue the suspect’s wife and the grandmother since their bodies had already been burned beyond recognition,” the witness testified.

Jeruto also informed the court that the couple had longstanding domestic conflicts, but it was not expected that it could turn tragic.

“The man would always be involved in small issues with his late wife and mother, but these were always resolved through the intervention of neighbours,” she said.

The hearing resumes on October 14, 2024.

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