Wanjiru's lover says his death was an accident

May 20 2011 - 3:47pm

NAIROBI, Kenya -- The woman having an affair with Olympic marathon champion Samuel Wanjiru and in the room with him when he fell to his death off a balcony said Friday he did not intend to commit suicide.

Jane Nduta said Wanjiru may have jumped or fallen to his death Sunday night while trying to get the key for his bedroom door from his wife, who locked Nduta and Wanjiru in the room when she found them.

Nduta said the runner had consumed several beers in bars before they went back to his home.

"I think his intention was not to commit suicide," said Nduta, who added she didn't see Wanjiru fall off the balcony.

Kenya's national police spokesman said shortly after the death that Wanjiru committed suicide, while his mother accused his wife of killing him to gain control of his property.

However, Nduta said after his wife Triza Njeri locked them in, Wanjiru told her he was going to the balcony to try and call his wife so that she would return with the key.

"I don't know what happened, but the next thing I heard was the guard screaming," Nduta said. "I went to the balcony and asked him what was happening, and he said look at who is down there. When I looked it was Wanjiru who was bleeding."

The 21-year-old Nduta said she blames herself for Wanjiru's death, and if she had not gone to his home he may still be alive. But she added the runner had convinced her that his wife was not around.

Nduta, who works at a pub in Wanjiru's hometown of Nyahururu, said they had been in a relationship for three months and the runner had made several promises of marriage.

"I knew my life will never be the same again if I got married to him. I would never have to work for anybody," Nduta said.

She said Wanjiru called her Sunday night around 11:00 p.m. and told her to wait for him at the pub because he wanted to see her. She said the runner had already been drinking when he met up with her and that the two went to another bar where he drank two more beers. He then asked her to accompany him home, she said.

Nduta said Wanjiru told her that Njeri had moved out and the home was now hers, as he had promised in previous meetings.

"When I was going to his home, I knew I was not going back home," Nduta said.

However, shortly after they got to Wanjiru's house his wife walked in and found them in the living room.

"She asked me who I am to Wanjiru, and I told her that I am his wife," she said.

According to Nduta, Wanjiru and his wife argued and came close to fighting before Njeri stormed out. Wanjiru then told her they should go to the bedroom upstairs, but Njeri came back to the house a few minutes later and followed them up the stairs.

She said Njeri picked up a jug and tried to throw it at Wanjiru and then locked them in the room. The runner then went out on the balcony.

Wanjiru's victory at the 2008 Beijing Games was Kenya's first Olympic gold medal in the marathon.


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