The killers of slain Dutchman and golf magnate Tob Cohen smashed his skull, dislocated his left leg and broke his hands as he desperately fought them off.
A scan on Tuesday of Cohen’s body revealed the painful death the former Phillips Chief Executive officer suffered at the hands of his killers.
Images from the scan, according to Algemeen Dagblad (AD), a leading Dutch newspaper, showed that Cohen was tortured before he was overpowered by his killers in one of the most gruesome murders of recent times.
It emerged that the DNA materials collected from the Dutchman’s fingers and under his fingernails would provide credible leads in unmasking his killers once the analysis is completed.
The Dutch billionaire’s decomposing body was found last Friday afternoon — eight weeks after his disappearance —in an empty underground water tank at his posh Kitisuru villa. His body was wrapped in many layers of black plastic.
Cohen was reported missing from his Lower Kabete home in Nairobi between July 19 and July 20.
“The remains showed signs of torture, the police said. Cohen was murdered in a horrible way. His hands, feet and neck were tied before he was killed. The murderers took their time, “Director of Criminal Investigations George Kinoti said when the body was retrieved last Friday.
The much-awaited postmortem examination was performed yesterday on Cohen body at the Chiromo Funeral Parlour in the presence of his widow Sara Wairimu, his sister Gabrielle Cohen, the investigating officer and other family members.
Wairimu, who was escorted to the facility under tight security by prison warders for the postmortem, earlier disagreed with Gabrielle on basic issues during the pre-postmortem conference.
The two bitterly clashed over how long Wairimu, who is the main suspect in the case, was supposed to be at the facility and who would identify Cohen’s body.
The grandstanding between the two sides, which had seen the postmortem postponed on Tuesday, threatened to scuttle the autopsy again yesterday.
At the Chiromo mortuary, the raging controversy surrounding Cohen’s death took a new twist after his family and the widow differed on who should be given the body.
While Gabrielle Cohen, the sister, demanded that the process be expedited so that she is given the body to dispose of off before she flies out of the country, Wairimu, through her lawyers, rejected this. She asserted that she was the one with the right over Cohen’s body as his widow.
Wairimu’s lawyer, Philip Murgor, was assertive that his client would not allow the body to be released to the sister of the tycoon, saying she has no right over it.
“The sister has no legal right over the body. We have rejected her demand and have written to Chiromo Morgue not to release that body to anyone, but Sarah Cohen,” Murgor said emphatically.
Murgor insisted Wairimu was fully aware of the wishes of her late husband, “none of which includes being buried within the shortest time possible”.
“Our client demand that the remains are not released to Gabrielle Cohen as she has no legal authority or mandate to take our client’s husband’s body, let alone to bury him,” a letter signed by Murgor and addressed to the morgue read in part.
“It is not our client who must get a court order to bury her husband. To the contrary, it is the sister who does not live in Kenya who must get a court order,” read the letter. The couple’s marriage certificate was attached to it.
The certificate indicated that Cohen was already divorced when he married Wairimu.
It emerged that problems started right from the pre-postmortem conference when a disagreement arose as to who would identify Cohen’s body.
While Murgor insinuated to reporters that Wairimu only ‘had slight difficulties’ in identifying the body but eventually positively did so, Cliff Ombeta, the lawyer for Cohen’s sister, asserted that Wairimu had failed to identify the body.
“Which body are we giving them? That woman said this is not the body of Cohen, so let her claim another body. I will say that on camera (on the record). We want the body released to the family for onward disposal,” Ombeta said.
Murgor told reporters at Chiromo that police had initially resisted the widow’s plea to identify the body given the tough conditions set by the court.
The court order that allowed Wairimu to attend the autopsy required her to do so under the watchful eyes of the police.
“It is this feeling that saw them (police) insist that the lady (Wairimu) should not identify the body but the sister,” Murogor said.
Further, it emerged that the family of Cohen was particularly angered by the further delay in disposing of the body as this violated their Jewish culture.
According to Algemeen Dagblad (AD), a leading Dutch newspaper, Cohen’s sister wanted to be given the body to bury it today at a Jewish cemetery in Nairobi.
According to the newspaper’s website, Cohen wrote in his will that he wanted a Jewish funeral in Kenya where he had lived for more than 30 years.
Jewish tradition prescribes that a person should be buried as quickly as possible, usually after 36 hours, but this would be impractical given the circumstances.
The Dutch paper reported that after the burial, a goodbye ceremony would take place for Cohen’s friends in the Muthaiga Golf Club in Nairobi.
They plan to commemorate the golf magnate, former club president and an active member, during a dinner.