Juliet Kavinga Murder Trial: Kenyan Lady Testifies

The Juliet Kavinga murder trial continues. On Monday, a Kenyan called Winfred Karimi Mungatia (popularly known as “Winnie”, took the witness stand to narrate her last contacts with Juliet a few days before she was murdered. According to Winnie, she was supposed to meet Juliet on 14th May 2005 but Juliet never turned up. Police believe that Juliet was killed on the 13th of May 2005 because that is the last time Juliet is known to have communicated on the phone.

Winnie was sure that she was to meet Juliet on the 14th because on the same day, she was free from work. Winnie’s boyfriend had travelled to the United States on the 12th of May, leaving her home with her son. Winnie told police that she needed company when her boyfriend was away and that it is also for this reason that she wanted Juliet to come and visit her.

Winnie, who came to Sweden in 2000, was one of Juliet’s best friends. She met Juliet when she was living in Skågos and was introduced to her by a Kenyan male who was moving from the flat making it possible for Juliet to move in.

The Kenyan lady told the court that when she spoke with Juliet, it was not decided that she would come but they agreed that if Juliet was not busy, she would be in a position to make the trip. Juliet informed Winnie that she had a customer who wanted her hair weaved on Sunday the 15th of May although Winnie said that she didn’t know the name of the customer.

She told the court that she still had the same mobile number she used during her communication with Juliet and that Juliet had two telephone numbers that were both linked to Nokia cell phones. A lady who called one of the numbers and who testified during the trial last year told the court that when she called Juliet’s number soon after Juliet disappeared, a man speaking broken English answered it. According to the line of questioning, it appeared as though the prosecutor wanted to demonstrate that the man who answered the phone which belonged to Juliet might not have been involved in the murder.

As the trial continued, the testimony of the man in question was played to the court. It emerged that the man lived in the same apartment as Juliet together with another man. According to the tape recording, the man had been using Juliet’s phone after she disappeared but the man did not know that Juliet had been killed. The man, who comes from Sudan and who was a student at the Kings Technical High School (KTH) told the court during testimony that he was surprised that a lady was calling her sounding very worried about Juliet.

According to Winnie, Juliet did not come home on the 14th May 2005 to visit her as they had planned. Winnie tried to call Juliet’s number but she was not answering. She told the Court that she was not worried that Juliet did not come to visit her but that after several phone calls went unanswered, she began to get worried.

A week after Winnie failed to get in touch with Juliet, Winnie called Juliet’s boyfriend and said that she was getting worried that Juliet had not communicated.  Juliet’s boyfriend then told her that “If she calls me, I will call you”.

When asked whether she had ever met Juliet’s boyfriend suspected to have murdered her, Winnie said that she met him once at a pub in Stockholm. They had a brief chat in the pub. At that moment, Winnie said that there were some girls from Thailand who were also in the pub. She told the court that Juliet’s boyfriend commented that girls from Thailand were only interested in money.

When she was interviewed by police last year, Winnie said Juliet had told her that her boyfriend had been together with a girl from Thailand. She told police that when they were at the pub, Juliet’s boyfriend told them that his Thai girlfriend had left him in preference for a rich man.

During the trial on Monday, there were long periods when the court simply listened to tape cassettes of the initial trial held last year. During the afternoon session, the court spent two and a half hours listening to tapes. Among those who were in the court was Juliet’s sister Susan and Winnie’s sister. Susan arrived in Sweden last year to follow the case. The court had fixed a translator making it possible for her to follow the proceedings in English.

When Winnie spoke to police last year, she said that Juliet had informed her that her boyfriend was very jealous. For example, she said that Juliet’s boyfriend did not let her speak on the phone with male friends while Winnie believed that the boyfriend “controlled” her very much.

On Monday, Winnie told the court that Juliet told her that the boyfriend used to tell her to clip his toe nails and to clean his feet. If she refused, they boyfriend used to tell her that she could have met someone else. The trial continues.

Okoth Osewe