The Murder of Agnes Wanjiru

The Sunday Times

Our investigation last year came after an initial report by Sky News in 2012 which linked British soldiers to the death of a sex worker in Kenya. A decade on from that report, we decided to dig into the story further, as the family of the sex worker – Agnes Wanjiru – had still not had justice. Agnes was stabbed and then locked inside a septic tank in a hotel in Nanyuki, Kenya, close to where the British Army have a military base. The last people to see Agnes alive were British soldiers.

We obtained a leak of police documents out of Kenya relating to the original 2012 inquiry into the murder. Hundreds of documents, including witness statements, correspondence between the police and British Army, and post-mortem reports, allowed us to then piece together Agnes’s final movements on the day she went missing. It also gave us the names of the people present at the Lion’s Court Hotel on the night she disappeared, including soldiers and hotel staff. Our reporters tracked down Agnes Wanjiru's family in Nanyuki, Kenya, last year, who gave us their interview. They said a fresh inquiry was being carried out by Kenya's DCI – the country’s FBI equivalent. With their help, we obtained court documents relating to an inquest for Agnes where a Kenyan judge ruled that Agnes had been murdered by British soldiers. Using the information provided by the investigation files and inquest documents, we were able to identify and approach more than 60 witnesses in the case, many of whom were British soldiers from the Duke of Lancaster Regiment. We tracked down and interviewed hotel workers, family members, close friends who were with Agnes on the night, as well as Kenyan police officers, British soldiers and British army officers. A vital breakthrough came when our sources provided the name of a soldier who was said to be a direct eyewitness to the killing – Soldier Y. Soldier Y provided us with his interview – implicating Soldier X, giving detailed eyewitness testimony on what really happened at the hotel on the night Agnes went missing. He confessed that Soldier X had shown him the body in a septic tank on the grounds on the hotel. When he reported it to his superiors in the regiment, he was ordered to keep quiet. The Duke of Lancaster Regiment, he alleged, had covered up the murder for the last decade. Our reporting led Ben Wallace, the Defence Secretary, to issue a blanket ban on British soldiers from paying for sex in foreign countries, in a story which had diplomatic ramifications for the UK and Kenya. The Kenyan authorities have vowed to bring the British soldier to justice, in a shocking case of murder, abuse, cover up and incompetence. This was a good old-fashioned newspaper investigation – which saw the two reporters working hard, approaching hundreds of people on the doorstep, developing sources in the regiment and with Kenyan authorities, in order to piece together the truth of what really happened.