Juliet’s Suspected Murderer May Go Free

The Late Juliet Kavinga 

Swedish police have one week to produce evidence that binds a 34 year old Swedish national to the murder of Juliet Kavinga from Kenya otherwise the suspect will be released from police custody. Juliet was seven or eight months pregnant at the time of her death while police estimated that she might have been murdered in May or June last year.

According to experts, she might have been hit on the head with a blunt object or shot. Her body was found last Sunday floating in Lake Mälaren wrapped in a tarpaulin in Ekerö, west of Stockholm city. The suspect was yesterday remanded in custody by Judges at the Solna district court.

Attempts by Prosecutor Tora Holst to keep the suspect locked up until trial or release failed when the court refused to recognize the 34 year old as a “suspect with probable cause” of having committed the murder. According to the Judges, there was insufficient evidence to hold the suspect indefinitely. Instead, he was sent to remand for a maximum of one week with the possibility that the Prosecution could re-apply to the court for the suspect to be tried later.

The Prosecution confirmed that the suspect had a romantic relationship with Juliet, had a history of conviction for violent crimes while he had a record of assaulting a woman. The court is awaiting result for a DNA test to establish weather the suspect is the father of the baby Juliet was carrying. The suspect, who was arrested following tips by Juliets’s friends, is represented by Mr. Peter Althin

According to friends interviewed by Kenya Stockholm Blog, the man had a relationship with Juliet at the time she got pregnant. Juliet was a professional hair braider and when she disappeared last summer, her customers believed that she might have given birth and retreated to live a quiet family life as she continued to “make papers” for permanent residence in Sweden.

Juliet was first “discovered” in Stockholm by Mr. Clay Onyango (the propriator of Recemarknardcenter) who found her homeless at Fittja Beach in 2002. Clay’s family later accommodated her for six months before she was introduced to a Kenyan lady who employed her at her hair salon in Södertälje. After she moved from Clay’s home to take up her new job, she still had a housing problem.

A Kenyan computer expert who learnt about her housing glitch invited her to occupy a room at Skågos after he found an alternative accommodation. The house was being rented by a Ugandan lady called Rachiel. Juliet then moved in to share the room with Winnie, the sister of Francis Mwongo, a former Kenya Embassy official who was recalled.

From Södertälje, Juliet expanded her work area to cover a Salon in the center of Stockholm city. She also began building a personal Network of customers mainly from Kenya who had recognized her amazing talent in hair-braiding. She operated by braiding hair at the houses of her customers to generate income for her survival.

“She was extraordinary, affordable and very secretive”, a former customer told Kenya Stockholm Blog. This customer was among the first to call police to help with identification when news spread that the body of an African had been recovered floating on water.  

“The police told me that the body was too mutilated to be identified. They also said that there is a total of seven Africans who are listed as missing in Sweden and that they could not tell whether the body which had been recovered belonged to one of them”, she said. The lady added that one of these missing Africans is a friend called “Susan”.

As Juliet’s Network of customers expanded, she joined a Church in Stockholm where she helped set up a choir group that mainly sung African songs. Through her newly found friends, Juliet engaged in several activities and when the group went on a boat trip to Helsinki, Finland, Juliet met a Swedish man whom she fell in love with and in December 2004 she became pregnant. It is at this point that the situation began to change.

According to Heidi, a close friend who interacted with her at the Church and who spoke to Aftonbladet Newspaper, Juliet became very worried after she became pregnant.

“I am very worried about a man I am in contact with”, she told Heidi without going into details. Heidi told the paper that Juliet was worried because she wasn’t sure whether she would be able to visit a pre-natal clinic in Sweden with her status as an illegal immigrant while she was also apprehensive about her imminent delivery because she believed that she would be thrown out of Sweden if she visited a hospital.

Jenipher Ruzingera, one of Juliet’s customers from Uganda who later became very close to her told Kenya Stockholm Blog that Juliet did not want to tell friends that her boyfriend was harassing her after she refused to accept an abortion.  

According to Jenipher, Juliet’s boyfriend informed her (Juliet) that he was not ready to accept economic responsibility for the baby. Jenipher said that, the boyfriend apparently believed that Juliet had tricked him into making her pregnant so that she could be able to settle in Sweden.

“She was very disappointed when her boyfriend rejected her pregnancy and as time went by, she did not know what to do”, she said.

In the summer of last year, Juliet called her friends at the church and booked a meeting saying that she had something interesting she wanted to tell. She never turned up at the appointment and it is during this period that she also disappeared.

When the Kenyan Embassy in Stockholm was contacted by Kenya Stockholm Blog about the case, an official at the reception said that Mr. George Kinywa, the First secretary who was authorized to comment on the case, was out of office. Swedish police have appealed for anybody with information about Juliet’s last moments to call police hot line at: 08-4013333.

Okoth Osewe

makosewe@gmail.com

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