x Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 24 January 2018

Four years for Dubai carpark killer 'not fair', says victim's family

Man jailed for four years after beating a woman to death in a car park has his sentence upheld by the Appeals Court.

Hanna Muikamba holds a portrait of her daughter Esther while cradling her one month old grandaughter, baby Esther, in the other hand.
Hanna Muikamba holds a portrait of her daughter Esther while cradling her one month old grandaughter, baby Esther, in the other hand.

DUBAI // A Kenyan family whose sole breadwinner died after being beaten into a coma in a Dubai car park say the four-year jail term her killer received was “not fair” – and that nine months after her death they are still desperately struggling to make ends meet.

Esther Wanjiru Mwikamba, a 26-year-old Kenyan, was beaten to the ground by A?M, an unemployed Emirati, in a car park outside a hotel when she intervened to stop him groping her friend. Even after she fell he continued to kick her in the head in the savage attack, which left her in a coma for 31 days until she finally died.

Yesterday, the Appeals Court upheld the four-year jail term handed to the Emirati, aged 23. The Criminal Court had sentenced him to a three-year term for the assault and one-year term for the sexual assault of Esther’s friend and compatriot A?W, 28.

The man admitted assault, but claimed he had not meant to kill Esther. “I did beat her but I did not mean to slaughter her,” he said.

Esther, a retail sales assistant in Dubai Mall, was the sole breadwinner for her family in Kenya and her death has left them struggling. No one from the family could be in the Emirates to hear the appeal, and they were not even aware of the ruling when The National contacted them yesterday.

“Four years for murder? It’s not fair, but there’s nothing we can do and it won’t change anything,” said her younger sister Lucy Wanjiru.

A M attacked Esther in a car park behind the Crowne Plaza hotel on Sheikh Zayed Road at about 3am on February 18 this year when she intervened to stop him groping one of the two friends who were accompanying her.

The woman he groped, A?W, a 28-year-old Kenyan, said she had asked him why he touched her. “He said he did it because we are both black and it is normal between the black people,” she said, adding that one of the man’s friends apologised for his behaviour, blaming it on his alcohol consumption.

Ms Wanjiru said she was glad A?M received an additional sentence for the sexual assault. “It’s good, the extra year. He deserves it for sexually assaulting that girl.”

When Esther’s mother heard her daughter would not live she suffered a stroke. Ms Wanjiru, who was by her sister’s bedside when she died in Rashid Hospital, said her mother and the rest of the family was now “coping day by day”.

“There’s nothing else we can do,” she said.

While Esther was in a coma a fundraising drive was organised by members of the UAE’s 40,000-strong Kenyan community to give the family financial support and fly her mother and sister to the UAE.

Later, the group helped with repatriating the body.

The Kenya Welfare Association also helped to raise funds to go towards hospital bills and to support for the family.

Ms Wanjiru said the family “sincerely appreciates” the help. “But we are still in desperate need. We understand if people don’t have anything to give, but everything truly does help.”

Anyone wishing to offer the family help should contact Lucy Wanjiru on 00254 71 533 0538.