A Maralal court has sentenced a 19 year old man to eight years in prison for kidnapping a three year old boy.
Appearing before Resident Magistrate Abraham Gachie, the accused, Ben Dickson Lemalele, pleaded guilty to kidnapping the three year old boy on 23rdAugust 2016 at Changaa Estate in Maralal town, Samburu County.
He also pleaded guilty to a second count of registering an Mpesa account using a stolen identity card.
The prosecution told the court that on the material day, the boy’s mother, Ms. Joy Lekimain, left for work leaving her son at the care of the house help.
At around 1pm, she received a call from the accused, who is her cousin, informing her that the child was missing.
She rushed home, seached for the child to no avail after which she reported the matter at the Maralal police station.
After a short while, she received a call from an unknown person using a Safaricom number informing her that her child was safe and then the caller switched off the phone.
The court further heard that on 25th August, Ms. Lekimain received a message from the same number demanding her to send Ksh 4,000 for the child’s upkeep.
She sent Ksh 2,500 with the transaction recipient being Daniel Gakure Mungai.
The prosecutor further said that on 26th August, Ms. Lekimain received another message demanding her to send a further Ksh 170,000 before 29th August after which the child would be released to her.
“The caller warned that if the demand is not met they should not blame him for what would happen to the child.” the prosecutor said.
He said that the police traced the mobile number to Ichunga Village in Nanyuki, Laikipia County, where they arrested the accused in a rented room together with the child.
After searching the room, the police found one mobile phone with the sim card which was being used to contact the boy’s mother and two identity cards one – belonging to Daniel Gakure Mungai and the other to Rose Lesimalele which were produced in court as evidence.
In mitigation, the accused said that the kidnapping was a practical joke which went bad. He also apologized to the family and said he was about to sit his KCSE since he is index 001 at Samburu Mixed Secondary School.
While passing his ruling, the magistrate said the offence is a danger to national security and sentenced him to seven years for kidnapping and one year for registering an Mpesa account using a stolen identity card.