Dubai: The family of a young Kenyan woman who died following a brutal attack in a Dubai car park in February said on Tuesday they are finding some comfort that the young Emirati man charged in the incident was sentenced to prison for the vicious beating.
But they told Gulf News that they hoped any sentence handed down might have been longer in duration to reflect the death of Esther Wanjiru Mwikamba, 26, a former store clerk who languished on life support for weeks after only to lose her struggle to brain injuries.
The accused, A.M., was sentenced in Criminal Court on Monday to three years imprisonment for assault leading to death, and an additional one year in jail for sexual harassment.
“The years he got were very little but there’s nothing that we can do about it,” said Esther’s sister Lucy Mwikamba in a telephone interview from her family home in Kenya yesterday. “He is going to prison so there is justice.”
It is not known whether the sentence will be challenged by the Emirati man within the 15-day appeal period.
When contacted by Gulf News, both Esther’s mother Hannah and her sister Catherine declined to comment on the case pending a possible civil case in which the family may claim financial compensation for Esther’s death.
While working for a music store at the Mall of the Emirates, Esther cared financially for her mother and her sister and remitted money to Kenya.
Kenyan national Mike, who lives in Dubai, said on Tuesday that he was glad to hear prison time was served given the high level of interest from the Kenyan expat community in recent months about Esther’s case.
“Justice has been served,” he said. “A conviction has been registered.”
Sister Lucy, meanwhile, said yesterday that her mother is still ill and feeling the effects of the loss of her daughter. Mother Hannah travelled to her daughter’s bedside in March where Esther was hospitalised at Rashid Hospital and never emerged from what doctor’s diagnosed as a coma.
When Esther was admitted to the intensive care unit, blood was leaking from her ears, nose and mouth.
Esther failed to respond to medical tests administered at the hospital by leading doctors who believe she suffered major brain damage in the violent confrontation in a Shaikh Zayed car park around 3:20 a.m.
Two women told Gulf News in February that they were accompanying Esther to a taxi on the dark early morning in question when the assailant approached them.
According to eyewitness accounts, it’s alleged that unwarranted advances by one male led to violence after he touched one of the women on the buttocks, an act that led to the sexual harassment verdict on Monday.