Naftali Kinuthia, a Thika-based IT expert, has been handed a 40-year prison sentence by the High Court in Eldoret after being found guilty of the murder of Moi University medical student Ivy Wangeci.

The tragic incident occurred on April 9, 2019, outside Moi Teaching and Referral Hospital (MTRH), where Kinuthia, 33, brutally hacked the 25-year-old final-year medical student twice on the head with an axe.

The court, presided over virtually by Justice Stephen Githinji of the Malindi High Court, declared Kinuthia guilty of murdering Wangeci in broad daylight, citing a failed love relationship as the motive.

The accused, a Jomo Kenyatta University computer science graduate, had earlier confessed to the crime during a court hearing in Eldoret, revealing that overwhelming jealousy triggered the violent act.

During the trial, Kinuthia admitted to witnessing Wangeci hugging another man, which led to an uncontrollable surge of anger.

"On the fateful morning, I saw my lover hugging another man. I cannot even tell the moment that I decided to pick up the axe from my car that I had packed near the Emergency department of MTRH. I was not myself," Kinuthia recounted.

Despite the remorse expressed by the accused through his lawyer, Wokabi Mathenge, who pleaded for a non-custodial sentence, the court delivered a 40-year custodial sentence, as Justice Githinji observed that Kinuthia subjected Wangeci to a painful death.

The death penalty, however, is abolished in Kenya.

In a surprising turn of events, it was revealed that the victim and the accused had been childhood friends, but their relationship soured after Wangeci allegedly rejected Kinuthia's advances.

The prosecution successfully argued against Kinuthia's claim that he was provoked by the breakup and subsequent elopement of his estranged girlfriend, emphasizing the brutality of the crime.

The court session, conducted virtually, highlighted Justice Reuben Githinji's dismissal of Kinuthia's defence, stating that the prosecution had substantiated the charge of murder.

The accused's attempt to reconcile with Wangeci's family, as conveyed by his lawyer, proved futile.

The tragic tale of Ivy Wangeci's murder underscores the devastating consequences of a failed love affair, leaving a once-promising medical student dead and her former friend sentenced to four decades behind bars.