Tecra Muigai could have been hit on the head with a blunt object inflicting injuries that caused her death, according to a postmortem report.
The report by chief government pathologist Johannsen Oduor expresses significant doubt about the earlier explanation that the Keroche heiress could have died of falling from a flight of stairs.
It shows that Mugai, then 29, had sustained a fracture of her skull and internal bleeding of the brain. The brain was swollen.
The fracture on the left side of the head extended to the base of the skull and the interior of the brain.
But Oduor explained in the report that the intensity of the impact of the trauma was so strong that it was inconsistent with a fall from a flight of stairs.
“This indicates that the injuries were unlikely to have been caused by a single impact,” the report reads, explaining that the blunt object hit could have been in addition to a possible fall.
“In my opinion, this observation indicates both blunt object injury as well as a possible fall,” Oduor wrote.
Tecra died in May last year at Nairobi Hospital after being evacuated from Lamu where she reportedly fell from the stairs of a hotel where she was staying with her lover Omar Lali.
Lali is reported to have maintained that Tecra died from a concussion sustained from the alleged fall.
But Oduor’s report shows that Tecra’s body had no signs of resistance to save herself during the alleged fall. The long bones were not fractured and the bruises on the skin were too minor to suggest a possible struggle to resist the fall or minimize the impact, the report shows.
Further, the postmortem found no trace of intoxication in her body, ruling out the possibility of falling due to being drunk.
A toxicological examination of her liver specimen only detected phenytoin, an anti-convulsant in the sample, but not alcohol, suggesting Tecra could have been hit on the head before the fall.
Citing previous published scientific research findings, Oduor said the injuries on Tecra’s body technically ruled out a fall as the sole cause of her death.
One of the studies cited explained that the injury pattern presented following a fall tends to be polymorphic, involving different parts of the body.
“[This is ] due to secondary striking against hard objects, going head over heels, striking/sliding over the steps or attempting to break the fall,” the report reads.
But in Tecra’s case, it said, the only major injury was on the head with a minor bruise on the left upper arm and on the knees.
“As expected, there should have been abrasions and bruises on other parts of the body and even a possibility of fracture of the long bones,” he explained.
Another study Oduor cited conducted at the Germany-based University of Bonn explained that a person dying from a stairs’ fall tends to “have injuries above the brim of the hat.”
The ‘brim of the hat rule’ holds that injuries above the brim are due to a blow and the one below it is due to a fall. Tecra’s injuries were above the brim, he concluded.
An inquest into Tecra’s death is on going a Nairobi court with her mother Tabitha Karanja and another witness peter Kariuki testifying.