Who is Antony Ngare? That is the question a court in Naivasha pondered during the trial of Eric Musila, who had been charged with the murder of his ex-wife popular musician Diana Chemutai, alias Chelele.
The name featured prominently during the ruling by High Court Judge Richard Mwongo who acquitted the accused for lack of sufficient evidence.
The arrest of Mr Ngare and probable prosecution, the court observed, could have aided greatly in the case that began almost three years ago following Ms Chemutai’s murder in 2016.
“I find that it would be unsafe to convict the accused for murder on the evidence availed by the prosecution. In the light of the foregoings, I find the accused not guilty for the said murder,” the judge ruled.
Back to Mr Ngare, he was cited during the trial as having had numerous telephone conversations with the accused as well as the deceased but was never brought to the witness stand.
The investigating officer Corporal Stephen George Mutunga had told the court that a blood stained khaki found at the crime scene, Chelele’s house in Bomet, had been taken to the government chemist in Kisumu for analysis.
The blood was said to be that of an “unknown male adult”.
The officer said that a jumper taken from Mr Musila’s house in Utawala, Nairobi, was found to have blood stains of the deceased.
Corporal Mutunga told the court that he believed that Mr Ngare was the person who wore the jumper on the night of the murder in Bomet and that the blood on the khaki could have been his.
The court heard that information about Mr Ngare came to the light after the arrest of the accused with the investigators having zeroed in on the telephone line which Mr Musila used.
The court also noted that a telephone number 0791509182, which Ms Chemutai used, was registered in the name of Kipng’eno Langat, who was not called to give evidence in court and was never traced.
The accused denied knowing the mobile line owner, despite evidence in court showing that on January 5, 2016, between 8:44am and 9:27am, six incoming short text messages (SMS) were exchanged between Mr Musila and the late musician, who was using the line.
“The prosecution, however, failed to pursue the clue during the probe regarding what the connection meant or would mean and failed to avail any evidence. The court is none the wiser concerning this aspect,” noted Mr Mwongo.
Justice Mwongo also cited glaring gaps, pointing to phone exchanges between Mr Musila, who is a policeman, and Mr Ngare.
But Mr Musila denied any relationship with Mr Ngare saying: “I do not know Ngare.”
Prosecution witness Vincent Mabu from Airtel, however, revealed that the accused used his mobile number to call Mr Ngare on numerous occasions.
“Since December 24, 2015 to January 3, 2016, there were 41 communications between the accused and Mr Ngare. The conversation revealed that the accused lied, because as a matter of fact, he had denied ever knowing him,” stated Mr Mwongo in his judgement.
“What was the accused and Ngare discussing in all the calls? There are very suspicious coincidences,” he said.
“These are the questions [on which] the prosecution was supposed to assist the court in its submissions,” he added.
The prosecution, which came under sharp scrutiny for their handling of the case, was accused of failing to follow the obvious leads, with Mr Mwongo saying that there was no serious effort made by the investigation team to apprehend Mr Ngare or any other person despite glaring evidence.
“There is no doubt that the accused was engaging regularly with both the deceased and Mr Ngare. But most alarming was the exchanges between the late Chelele and Ngare that happened 73 times starting on January 5, 2016 to past midnight on the day she died,” said the judge.
“On the night of the presumed murder, the call lasted between 11:30pm and 12:22am on January 7, 2016 with no other call being made thereafter,” he added.
“Am of the view that the accused had arranged with Ngare for him to keep in touch with deceased on the fateful night. The plan was to ensure that whatever arrangement they had hatched was accomplished,” said Mr Mwongo in his ruling.
The judge again faulted the prosecution, saying when they charged the accused, he was not charged as an accomplice with others not before court, but as the person who committed the murder. “This is somehow baffling.”
The court further observed that the accused blood samples were never taken for analysis to find out any link with stains found.
“This raises more questions…How did the sweater get into Mr Musila’s house? How did blood matching that of the deceased happen to be in the sweater? Whose sweater was it? What was the relationship between Ngare and the accused?” posed Mr Mwongo.
The judge said that these were the questions which the prosecution was required to assist the court to determine through evidence and submissions.
“The prosecution failed in this aspect,” the judge said.
Renowned Kalenjin musician was murdered on January 7, 2016 in Kapkwen, Bomet County.