Queries on death of City banker

The wreckage of the car in which Terrence Korir, a resident of Nairobi's Buruburu Estate, died following a fire on April 29, 2020. PHOTO/COURTESY

Examination by the Government Pathologist revealed that Korir was alive when the fire started.

Terrence Korir often waved at neighbours or rolled down the windows of his car on his way back home from work.

But on the morning of April 29, no such niceties were traded.

Neighbours woke up to find him strapped on the driver’s seat. The car had been reduced to a shell and himself to charred remains. No one had heard him scream.

Those who knew him tried to piece together what might have happened.

Was it murder or suicide? Either way, a post-mortem examination conducted by the Government Pathologist Johansen Odour on May 5 revealed that Korir was alive when the fire started.

“He inhaled a lot of soot, an indication that he took a lot of time in the car before he died,” Oduor told journalists at the Chiromo mortuary.

He said the deceased’s intestines were empty, an indication he had not eaten for some time.

The post-mortem had revealed the painful death of the Credit Section staff at the Bank of Africa, Westlands branch.

After his death, social media was full of speculation that the 35-year-old Korir was the latest victim of domestic violence, brought about by the stress of coronavirus pandemic-related closures and movement restrictions.

Investigators from Buru Buru DCI backed up by homicide detectives from the DCI headquarters swung into action to unravel the mystery.

His wife, Ruth Wanjiru Mungai, 29, also a banker, was the first to record a statement with the police. She had been condemned on social media but her mother-in-law, Betsy Maritim, had kind words for her. “I have never had any issue with her. We are constantly in touch,” Korir’s mother said.

The family has asked DCI boss George Kinoti to conduct a thorough probe into Korir’s death. Initial reports were that Korir could have been killed elsewhere and his body brought into his car which was then set on fire.

If indeed he were alive when the vehicle was set on fire, then why didn’t he try to run away from the inferno? Could it be that he had been drugged, put in the vehicle which was then set on fire? These are some of the questions his family and friends keep asking, and they want answers.

Investigators have since forwarded ash samples to the Government Chemist to establish whether the fire was caused by petrol or paraffin.

They have also forwarded parts of his intestinal walls for toxicological examination. Already, the DCI team is a step away from confirming that Korir committed suicide.

This is based on the last moments of Korir as revealed by his family and neighbours. On April 28, Korir had arrived home about 30 minutes before the 7pm curfew time. Korir had spent the entire day at his brother’s in Ngong, according to his parents.

Unlike other days, the man did not park his vehicle on his designated parking bay but an open space close to the wall.

Visit counselor

The couple had agreed that the following morning, Korir would visit a counselor in the city. The wife was first to wake up and after taking a shower, proceeded to the bedroom for her make-up.

Korir was just about to take a shower when there was a power outage. He, therefore, decided to wait until power was restored to heat the water. It took about 15 minutes for power to return. Wanjiru realised that the husband was not in the shower and had actually gone out.

It’s then that she heard shouts from neighbours that a vehicle was on fire. And when Wanjiru went out, she was shocked to see the lifeless body of her husband being pulled out of the vehicle.

Fire experts from the Nairobi County Government who were incorporated into the investigations have revealed that the fire started from the driver’s seat. And based on the way the vehicle was parked, there is no possibility that a third party was around. The fire experts, according to police sources, think that it was suicide.