- It gripped the country for the whole year from the moment Captain Judy Kambura Angaine, the daughter of Lands and Settlement minister Jackson Angaine, was found strangled in a bathtub in her house, No. 64 Ngei estate on March 30, 1978.
- In the dock was Major David Kimeu Kisila, a military colleague of Capt Angaine and boyfriend, who was arrested and charged the day after her body was found.
- Justice Hancox said Kisila could only have committed the murder in the short space of 30 minutes when he returned to the house between 10.30 am. and 11 am.
It was an intriguing and tragic drama. Three senior politicians. An army officer. A company executive. And the murder of a minister’s daughter.
It was a story of love, lust and passion.
It gripped the country for the whole year from the moment Captain Judy Kambura Angaine, the daughter of Lands and Settlement minister Jackson Angaine, was found strangled in a bathtub in her house, No. 64 Ngei estate on March 30, 1978.
Mr Angaine’s colleagues in the Cabinet Paul Ngei and Jeremiah Nyagah -- who were adversely mentioned in connection with her death -- testified in the subsequent murder trial.
In the dock was Major David Kimeu Kisila, a military colleague of Capt Angaine and boyfriend, who was arrested and charged the day after her body was found.
Three months later, on November 1, 1978, he was acquitted.
Police pathologist A.L. Ribeiro told the court that Judy was sexually assaulted before she was killed.
Who killed her and why?
Thirty-five years later, this question has never been answered.
It emerged during the trial that although Mr. Angaine had turned down Maj Kisila’s request to marry Judy, the two lived together in a come-we-stay arrangement.
They operated two joint bank accounts and held a joint mortgage. In the later she entered her name as Mrs Judy Gloria Kimeu.
On the night of March 29, a day before she died, the court was told Capt Angaine had arrived from running an erand in Molo and had gone to see her father in his Ardhi House office.
That day, Mr Angaine had left for his farm in Meru. Mr Ngei, who was in the Cooperatives docket, and had an office in the same building, offered to give her a lift to her house in the estate named after him.
Hours later Maj Kisila found the two in the house “drinking whisky”.
Later that night, Mr Ngei is alleged to have left with Judy for more drinks at Langata Club and then to Woodley Club.
“It was on the way back that Ngei, while still driving, touched Judy on the breast and told her he loved her,” Angaine quoted Maj Kisila as saying.
She was said to have resisted the advances causing a struggle that made the car to roll three times.
The two were rescued by “a European woman” who gave Judy a new dress because hers was torn. It was the Good Samaritan, according to Kisila, who took Judy back to the house.
Maj Kisila had decided not to accompany Mr. Ngei and there was little he could do when the Minister went with his would-be wife.
“Ngei is a big man. There was nothing I could do…Ngei is a fearful man,” Kisila had apparently told Mr Angaine, shortly before the body was collected from the house.
That night, after Judy was brought to the house by the rescuer, Maj Kisila took her to Armed Forces Memorial Hospital where she was treated by Mrs Rachel Mwandonyia, a nurse.
Judy, the nurse told the court, complained of “pain on the left arm and heaviness of the head following a road accident. She had a bruise on the left arm near the shoulder, with abrasions over both knees.”
That night, as Kisila was to tell Commanding Officer of Forces Memorial Hospital, Dr. Samuel Waruru, Judy “complained of pain but slept alright.”
The court was told that in the morning of March 30, Maj Kisila persuaded Judy to go to hospital “but she said she would go to the office first.”
That morning, at about 7.30 am, Maj Kisila drove out of Judy’s house as her driver, Lance Cpl Patrick Gichovi was parking.
The driver told the court that Capt Angaine was not ready for work as she was still in her night dress.
She gave him a letter and a key to a safe to take to her boss, the Commanding Officer of the Women Service Corps in Eastleigh, Maj Phyllis Ikua. In the letter, which was read in court, Judy informed Maj. Ikua that she was “involved in a car accident on my way from Nakuru.
I was not seriously hurt but I am reporting to FMH (Forces Memorial Hospital), for X-ray at 0900hrs this morning. Please sign cheque for me I will see you later. Judy”
Why would she tell her boss that the accident happened on her way from Nakuru yet, according to her boyfriend in occurred in Nairobi? Was she hiding some information?
After leaving the house, Maj Kisila passed by the DoD, and a Col Chana, saw him at 8.30 am.
When he reached the city centre, Kisila is said to have called a neighbour to check whether Judy had left.
Declined to go to hospital
“The neighbour said they could not tell whether she was in the house or not as the car was still outside and the doors locked,” Dr Waruru told the court of what Mr Kisila told him.
Kisila returned to the house once again and found Judy in a worse condition and tried to persuade her to go to hospital. She declined saying she was waiting for a visitor at 10.30 am.
That visitor remains the missing link to her death.
What is known is that Kisila left again and drove to town to look for either of Judy’s sisters, Joyce Mwari or Ann Charity Kanamu, hoping they would be able to persuade her to go to hospital.
He arrived at Nairobi Hospital, where Ann worked, some minutes before noon but since she could not leave she suggested that her sister Joyce should accompany him.
Joyce, who worked at Cooper Motors in Industrial Area, knew Maj Kisila as Judy’s boyfriend.
That day, at about 12.25 pm, Kisila arrived at her office and told her that Judy “was seriously sick…she wanted me to accompany him to persuade my sister to go to hospital,” Joyce told the court.
“Kisila told me that he had gone to the house at 10 am to check on Judy’s condition and had also gone to Buru Buru Estate to take his mother to hospital.
When we arrived at the house, Kisila parked outside the gate and said he was not taking the car inside. I asked him for the keys to open the main gate.
I remarked that she had not left for hospital because the car was parked inside the compound.
He remarked that she could not have left since (Kisila) had the car keys. “On reaching the main door, we found water flowing through the doorway.