A highly toxic pesticide was detected in body tissues and wet soil collected from the grave of British property tycoon Harry Roy Veevers, a witness has told an inquest into his death.
Senior Government Chemist Stephen Matinde Weibe on Wednesday told Senior Principal Magistrate Charles Ndegwa that the chemical was detected in two sets of the deceased’s soft tissues and soil samples collected from his tomb.
Mr Waibe testified that on February 4, 2014, the then Kisauni criminal investigation chief Joseph Kioko delivered the deceased’s tissues with some hair, wet soil and dry soil samples all collected from the grave “to ascertain whether there was any sign of poisoning”.
He said on February 11, 2014, former chief government pathologist Moses Njue delivered a second set of samples for similar analysis.
Mr Waibe said Dr Njue, unlike Mr Kioko, requested him to prepare preliminary report of his findings, which he said is done before the conclusion of the toxicological tests.
“I did indicate to him that the soft body tissue and the wet soil sample had been found to be containing carbonate pesticide suspected to be cyhalothrin locally traded as Karete or dudu drin,” the witness said during examination by Senior Assistant Director of Public Prosecutions Alexander Muteti.
The witness further testified that the highly toxic pesticide was not detected in the two sets of dry soil samples brought by Mr Kioko and Dr Njue.
“I did not detect any chemically toxic substance other than cyhalothrin in the soft body tissues and wet soil sample,” he said.
“I also indicated that the same pesticide was not detected on the dry soil sample.”
He said Karate is a broad spectrum pesticides used to control insects in gardens and houses.
The chemical is readily available and can be bought without prescription, he said.
While being cross-examined by lawyer Kinyua Kamundi, for the two sons of Mr Veevers— Philip Veevers and Richard Veevers— the witness said the cyhalothrin is “highly toxic pesticide”.
He also dismissed a report by British forensic scientist Alexander Richard Allan that the pesticide cannot kill.
“As I have said, it is known to contribute to death,” he said.
Asked by lawyer Kamundi whether the pesticide, if spread on top of the grave, can seep through the thick soil, six feet to the buried body, Mr Waibe replied: “I can conclusively say it cannot find its way into grave if sprayed from the top of the grave.”
In cross-examination by lawyer William Mogaka, for the deceased’s daughters Helen and Alexandra and their mother Azra Parvenu Din, the witness stated that it was coincidental that the two toxicological reports he prepared for Dr Njue and Mr Kioko bore the same date.
“Scientific results are reproduced. The report I have produced in court is the best to my knowledge. I have not be paid by anyone or institution to influence my findings,” he said.