x Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 21 September 2017

Car park killer gets 4 years for kicking woman into fatal coma

The man who kicked and punched a 26-year-old Kenyan to death in the Crowne Plaza car park has been sentenced by a Dubai court. His victim's family have expressed shock at the sentence.

Esther Wanjiru Mwikamba had been in a coma since February 18.
Esther Wanjiru Mwikamba had been in a coma since February 18.

DUBAI // A man who kicked and punched a young woman to death in a brutal 3am assault in a hotel car park was jailed yesterday for a total of four years.

Esther Mwikamba, 26, a shop worker from Kenya, never regained consciousness after the attack. She was rushed to Rashid Hospital where she remained in a coma for 31 days until her death.

A?M, an unemployed Emirati, assaulted her in the car park behind the Crowne Plaza hotel on Sheikh Zayed Road on February 18. Earlier he had sexually assaulted Esther’s friend A?W, 28, also from Kenya, in the car park. “I asked him why he did it and he said because we are both black and it was normal with the black people,” she told prosecutors.

“His friend apologised on his behalf and said he was behaving strangely as he was under the influence of alcohol.”

Later, as A?W was talking on her mobile phone and walking towards her car, she looked back and saw Esther on the ground, where A?M was kicking her.

He then fled the scene, along with a number of other men, as onlookers gathered to assist the victim.

A security guard gave police the plate number of the car in which A?M drove off, and he has been in custody in Dubai Central Jail since that night.

When he appeared in court last May, A?M admitted punching Esther to the ground and repeatedly kicking her, but said he had not intended to kill her. “I did beat her but I did not mean to slaughter her,” he told the presiding judge.

He was sentenced at the Criminal Court yesterday to three years for assault leading to death and a further year for sexual harassment. The verdict is subject to appeal within 15 days.

Esther’s family expressed shock at the sentence. “It’s not fair. Justice has not been given to Esther,” her younger sister Lucy Wanjiru, who lives in Kenya, said when The National told her of the verdict.

“This is a very short period. He deserves more punishment for what he did. He took my sister’s life.”

The family is trying to get in touch with their lawyer in Dubai for more details.

“My mother has yet to recover from the incident. She is still in a state of shock. She cries every day looking at the picture of Esther,” Lucy said.

“Esther was the only breadwinner in our family. Our financial position is not good after she passed away. We are struggling to cope with her loss. And no one from his family ever contacted us to even say sorry about the incident.”

Esther’s cousin, Benny Kamami, who lives in Nairobi, said: “It’s not fair. The person who did this act should be sentenced to life. We did not expect this.”

The issue of compensation can be raised only when the family’s civil lawsuit against A?M reaches court. Their lawyer in Dubai could not be reached yesterday for information about that case.

salamir@thenational.ae

frahman@thenational.ae