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16 Nov, 2021 16:23

Husband of Kenyan running star pleads not guilty to her murder

Husband of Kenyan running star pleads not guilty to her murder

The husband of Kenyan Olympic runner Agnes Tirop has been charged with her murder but pleaded not guilty after being ordered to undergo a mental health test.

In a tragedy that shocked the east African country and has become a spotlight case on the domestic violence women suffer there, 5,000m star Tirop was found stabbed to death at her Iten home on October 13.

Her 41-year-old partner Ibrahim Rotich is the prime suspect in the case, and was arrested by police in the coastal town of Mombasa while allegedly attempting to flee the country.

READ MORE: Police say lover confessed to brutal killing of runner found in pool of blood as family claim he was in plot targeting her wealth

He reportedly looked down at the ground for the majority of the proceedings at the High Court in Eldoret, and his lawyer Joseline Mitei refrained from discussing the results his mental health evaluation had thrown up though it had shown he was fit to stand trial.

"I intend to put formal application in court for my client to be released on bail," she said, with a hearing now set for December 1.

Tirop’s father Vincent was in attendance as were Rotich’s siblings to hear his plea on Tuesday. 

Tirop was a rising star in her homeland renowned for its long-distance runners such as four-time London Marathon champion Eliud Kipchoge. 

Winning bronze medals at the 2017 and 2019 World Champions, she also smashed the world record for a 10km women-only race in Germany in September.

In Tokyo, she finished fourth in the 5,000m final won by Sifan Hassan. 

Just two months after the conclusion of the Games, however, Tirop was found dead with stab wounds to her neck while a postmortem discovered she was also hit on the head with a blunt object.

On what would have been her 26th birthday on October 23, her family buried her at their home in Nandi.