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Murder of Agnes Wanjiru

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The murder of Agnes Wanjiru was carried out in the town of Nanyuki, Kenya, in 2012. Wanjiru's body was discovered in the septic tank of a hotel two months after she disappeared. Wanjiru entered the hotel with British soldiers of the Duke of Lancaster's Regiment. The murder was widely covered in the British press after the contents of a WhatsApp group chat involving soldiers of the Duke of Lancaster's Regiment were leaked to the press, showing some of the soldiers accused of murdering Wanjru mocking her death with memes related to murder, hotels, and septic tanks.

History[edit]

In 2012, a Kenyan mother aged 21, called Agnes Wanjiru, was allegedly murdered by soldiers of the Duke of Lancaster Regiment, with the murder reportedly covered up by British Army officials. Two months after she accompanied British soldiers into the Lions Court Hotel bar in Nanyuki, her naked corpse was found in a septic tank next to the room in which soldiers of the Duke of Lancaster had stayed. Many British newspapers reported Agnes Wanjiru to be a prostitute, claims which have been disputed by her surviving family. Due to the advanced decay of her corpse, the post-mortem examination was unable to confirm whether or not she had been sexually assaulted prior to her death. Some British newspapers reported that a soldier of the regiment confessed to being involved in the killing but was told to "shut up" when he attempted to report it. One of the soldiers within the regiment accused a fellow soldier of being party to the murder.[1][2][3][4][5]

Despite a Kenyan inquest finding that she had been "unlawfully killed" and the judge presiding finding that British soldiers had murdered her, no soldiers have been charged or convicted for the killing. Defence Secretary Ben Wallace denied that the British military had covered-up Wanjiru's murder, but admitted guilt to and expressed concern over the Army hierarchy turning a "blind eye" to the use of prostitutes by personnel, especially within “countries in poverty”.[6][7]

Esther Njoki, Wanjiru’s niece, called on King Charles III to bring about justice for Wanjiru by bringing attention and urgency to her case. She wrote a letter to the King, asking him to visit her family and requested measures from the British crown forces’ commander-in-chief.[8]

2021 WhatsApp leaks[edit]

In 2021, screenshots of a private Facebook group chat allegedly run by soldiers of the Duke of Lancaster's Regiment was published across British newspapers. The screenshots reportedly showed the regiment's soldiers joking and laughing at memes mocking the murder of Agnes Wanjiru. Soldiers of the regiment posted photographs of the outside of the hotel where Wanjiru was murdered with the caption "if you know you know" followed by laughing emojis. Other comments apparently mocking Agnes Wanjiru's murder include one soldier who commented "septic tank" with ghost emojis and various jokes about sore throats. The same soldier who allegedly murdered Agnes Wanjiru posted: "Come to think of it I have had a sore throat today." The leaking of the secret chats apparently mocking the murder sparked a reinvestigation into the case by Kenyan police.[9][10][11][3][12][13]

2023 inquiry[edit]

In 2023, a wide-ranging inquiry into claims of abuse by the British Army was launched.[14]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Hancock, Sam (24 October 2021). "Army bosses accused of cover-up after soldier 'killed sex worker and hid body in septic tank'". The Independent. Retrieved 2 November 2021.
  2. ^ "Family of Kenyan woman allegedly murdered by British soldier to sue UK army". SBS Australia. 11 November 2021. Retrieved 16 November 2021.
  3. ^ a b Gathara, Patrick (8 November 2021). "One more body in the septic tank that is British colonial history". Aljazeera. Retrieved 16 November 2021.
  4. ^ Muiruri, Peter (9 November 2021). "'She did not deserve to die like this': family of Agnes Wanjiru seek justice". The Guardian. Retrieved 16 November 2021.
  5. ^ Grierson, Jamie (14 November 2021). "Military chief pledges UK cooperation with Kenya in Wanjiru case". The Guardian. Retrieved 16 November 2021.
  6. ^ Willems, Michiel (14 November 2021). "Defence Secretary Ben Wallace denies murder of Kenyan woman by British soldier was covered up". City A. M. Retrieved 16 November 2021.
  7. ^ Kimutai, Cyprian (14 November 2021). "UK Defence Secretary concerned by British soldiers in Kenya visiting brothels". Pulse Live. Retrieved 16 November 2021.
  8. ^ Elbagir, Yousra (2023-10-30). "Niece of Kenyan woman 'murdered by British soldier' calls on King to act during visit". Sky News. Retrieved 2023-11-02.
  9. ^ Hlatshwayo, Mukelwa; Coles, Amy (3 November 2021). "Agnes Wanjiru: Armed forces minister pledges to 'leave no stone unturned' as Kenyan police reopen murder investigation". Sky News. Retrieved 5 November 2021.
  10. ^ Sharman, Jon (3 November 2021). "Agnes Wanjiru: Kenyan police reopen case of woman allegedly killed by British soldier". The Independent. Retrieved 5 November 2021.
  11. ^ Wanjohi, John (1 November 2021). "DCI to Reopen Murder Case on Kenyan Woman Allegedly Killed by a British Soldier". Mwakilishi. Retrieved 5 November 2021.
  12. ^ Krasteva, Gergana (1 November 2021). "British soldier accused of killing young mother 'joked about her death on Facebook'". The Metro. Retrieved 2 November 2021.
  13. ^ "Squaddies 'made vile jokes about murder of mum' after body was found in septic tank". The Mirror. 1 November 2021. Retrieved 2 November 2021.
  14. ^ Kimeu, Caroline (2023-08-14). "Kenya launches inquiry into claims of abuse by British soldiers at training unit". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved 2023-08-14.