Probe on Wanjiru death begins

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  • Published 18.05.11

Nairobi: Kenyan authorities launched an investigation Tuesday to determine what caused the death of Olympic marathon champion Samuel Wanjiru.

The Kenyan runner died from a fall off his bedroom balcony after he was allegedly found by his wife with another woman.

National deputy police spokesman Charles Owino said the inquest will explore whether Wanjiru deliberately jumped, was pushed or intended to commit suicide. Owino said officials will close the case if the police find overwhelming evidence that Wanjiru’s death was caused by his own actions.

“If we find that somebody was involved in committing the offence is when the matter goes to court before a magistrate and the magistrate reviews the case and makes recommendations that we arrest the person,” Owino said.

Following Wanjiru’s death late Sunday, police officials gave differing accounts of the cause. Police commissioner Mathew Iteere said “initial reports indicate that Wanjiru committed suicide.”

But police in Wanjiru’s hometown of Nyahururu said the runner jumped from his balcony after his wife locked the bedroom door and ran away after he found him with another woman. Jasper Ombati, the police chief in Nyahururu, said he believes Wanjiru may have jumped from the balcony to stop his wife from running out of the compound.

Wanjiru had a history of domestic problems. Last December, he was charged with wounding his security guard with a rifle and threatening to kill his wife and maid. The runner denied all charges and was released on bail. On Valentine’s Day, the couple announced they working out their differences and Wanjiru’s wife dropped the charges.

On Monday, two other women claimed they were also married to Wanjiru. Polygamy is common practice for many Kenyan tribes. In 2008, Wanjiru won Kenya’s first Olympic gold in the marathon at the Beijing Games.