An Anglican Church of Kenya elder in Embu was yesterday jailed for a total of 18 years for conspiring to kill a family of six.
Perminus Kariuki, an official of the local ACK fathers' association, faced six counts of conspiring in a plot to kill a man, his wife and their four children at Mutunduri village in Embu District between May 26 and 27, 2001.
The court heard that Kariuki and another suspect, Peter Kariuki, who has since died, inserted a poisonous chemical in a pipe supplying water to Mr Johnson Kyande Muguimi's homestead with the intention of killing him, his wife Nancy, and their children Kenedy, Mukami, Wanyaga and Jim.
Mr Muguimi told the court that the plot was leaked to him by a neighbour, after which he informed the police.
"It was by the grace of God that we survived," he told the court.
He produced in court a bottle containing a chemical, which he said was retrieved from the water pipe.
In his judgment, the Embu principal magistrate, Mr Josiah Kirie, said he had considered evidence from the prosecution and defence and was convinced that the accused committed the offence.
He ordered Kariuki to serve three years for each of the six counts. The sentences will run concurrently. He was given 14 days to appeal.
Later, there was an argument between the accused's lawyer, Mr Eddie Njiru, and the prosecutor, Inspector John Ndegwa, when the former applied for bail pending appeal.
Mr Ndegwa opposed the application, saying the accused was a convict who had committed a serious offence that could have led to loss of life.
Mr Njiru urged the court to exercise its powers to grant bail to a convict.
The magistrate rejected the bail application and turned down demands by Mr Njiru to give reasons for his action.
he lawyer applied for certified copies of the proceedings to prepare an appeal.
Earlier, Kariuki pleaded for leniency, saying he was a first offender.