The strange murder of a student
On July 11, 2017, two boys of Kibubu village in Lugazi discovered the body of a girl, of about 20 years, lying in a sugar plantation, at a distance of about 50 metres from the Kampala-Jinja highway.
The body had a wound on the neck although no weapon was seen nearby. The boys then informed their LC 1 chairperson, who in turn called the police who came and took the body to Kawoolo Hospital where the relatives of the deceased were later to identify her as Desire Mirembe, a student of the Makerere University College of Health Sciences.
The boyfriend of the deceased, Mattew Kirabo, then a medical student in the same college, was arrested, charged tried and convicted for the murder of Mirembe. There is undisputed evidence that on the evening of July 10, 2015, Kirabo called Mirembe for them to meet at Oasis Mall to have a discussion about their relationship which was apparently on the rocks.
Mirembe had been advised by her pastor at church to end the relationship.
The two meet at the Oasis Mall and sat in the parking of the mall and had coffee at Café Javas. There is also evidence that in the parking the two had, what appeared like, a heated argument and the two left in a vehicle driven by Kirabo.
A pastor told court that he knew Mirembe was a member of his church and the first time he met her was when she came to him seeking counselling regarding a love relationship which was under stress; her boyfriend was requesting of her things she did not want to do and forcing her to use an intra-uterine device.
The pastor told court that as the relationship between the two was stormy he advised Mirembe to leave it. However it was apparent that Kirabo was obsessed with the relationship and came to ask the pastor if, indeed, he the pastor had advised Mirembe to end their relationship. The pastor noted that when Kirabo left his office he appeared sad.
On the night Mirembe was killed Kirabo allegedly used her phone to send false messages, purportedly from her, to her relatives that she was stuck in Jinja with a strange person.
One of the relatives of Mirembe, upon receiving the strange message, got very suspicious and started looking for her. It was when the relatives realised that Mirembe’s known telephone numbers had been switched off that they contacted the police.
The police were able to get the phone details of the deceased and it was established then that the last person Mirembe communicated with was Kirabo. A security guard at Akamwesi Hostel told court that late on the night that Mirembe was apparently killed, Kirabo drove to the hostel and asked about her. The guard had known them as a couple dating. Kirabo looked very perturbed that night and was trembling and reportedly failed to load airtime on the mobile phone he had. The security guard then helped him load the airtime after which Kirabo is then said to have proceeded to Deliverance Church for overnight prayers.
Two postmortem examinations were carried out on the body of the deceased; the first was carried out in Kawoolo hospital and the other in Kampala Capital City mortuary. Both postmortem examinations noted the deep wound on the right side of the neck that had severed the main vessels. The weapon used to inflict the injury must have been a heavy sharp weapon such as a machete or an axe and whoever inflicted the injury must have attacked the deceased from behind, judging from the shape of the wound. It was also possible that the deceased was taken by surprise as there were no injuries that suggested that the deceased tried to defend herself. That the deceased was drugged or sedated is also another possibility. However there is no way this injury could have been inflicted inside a saloon car as was claimed.
In the two postmortem reports, the doctors concluded that the deceased died as a result of excessive blood loss resulting from the cut in the neck. However during the second postmortem examination, the doctor failed to get blood samples to submit for DNA analysis as well as for toxicology. It is as if the body had been deliberately drained of blood. This prompted the doctor to request the police investigation team to establish the amount of blood at the scene of discovery of the body as well as the blood splatter pattern as these would be vital in establishing if the girl had been killed at that scene or she was killed elsewhere and the body simply damped at that scene. And whoever killed her could not have escaped being thoroughly soiled by her blood.
During the second postmortem examination it was also noted that the body had had not been dissected during the first postmortem examination and that the deceased had a sanitary pad on. The body was then dissected and the pad and underwear submitted for forensic analysis from which very important information was recovered.
Kirabo confessed to the police that he did indeed kill Mirembe and made a charge and caution statement to that effect and also helped the investigators apparently reconstruct the crime scene. The confession was recorded and saved on a DVD that was played in court. Kirabo led the investigating team to the scene and explained to the team how he moved with Mirembe in his car and how he held the sharp object and cut the neck of the deceased, killed her and dragged and dumped her body into the sugarcane plantation. Kirabo confessed that he used a surgical blade to kill the deceased but this was inconsistent with the injury the deceased sustained. Kirabo was later to withdraw his confession and absconded during the trial.