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Hit-and-run suspect admits driving killer van

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14:09 CET+01:00
A 39-year-old man who turned himself in to police in Ullensaker on Thursday in connection with the hit-and-run killing of 54-year-old Jeff Mwangi Kwirikia has admitted driving his vehicle at the time of the crash.

The suspect earlier claimed not to recall whether he had been behind the wheel at the time of the fatal crash on Tuesday afternoon.

Jeff Mwangi Kwirikia, the father of popular Norwegian-Kenyan singer Stella Mwangi, died from his injuries after he was run over by a van on county road 454 on Tuesday afternoon. The driver fled the scene.

After police made an appeal for assistance, the suspect arrived at the station with his wife saying he had information pertaining to the case. He then accompanied police officers to his parents’ home in Råholt, south-eastern Norway.

In the adjoining garage, police found a Citroen Berlingo van with extensive damage to the front windscreen and the right-hand side of the vehicle. Police had earlier said they were looking for a van that matched this description.

The 39-year-old was charged on Thursday with manslaughter..

Police said the suspect was racked with emotion when he turned himself in. If found guilty, he could be jailed for up to three years, or up to six years if there are found to be aggravating circumstances.

At a remand hearing on Friday, the suspect took back his claim not to remember what had happened over the past few days.

“I can confirm that he admitted at today’s remand hearing that he ran somebody over,” prosecutor Jon Aga told newspaper VG.

Police said they were pleased to have received a large number of witness reports from people who said they had seen the damaged van just after 2pm on Tuesday. The vehicle was seen headed in a northbound direction on the stretch of the Trondheim road between Dal and Råholt.

The damaged vehicle was removed from the garage in Råholt on Thursday for further investigation by police.

The victim's daughter, Stella Mwangi, 25, represented Norway at the Eurovision Song Contest in 2011.

She also recently appeared on television with her father in the Norwegian version of Let’s Dance, in which she was a participant.

“She’s not doing well at all. Stella was very close to her father. She is mainly mourning her loss, not hunting for the driver,” her future father-in-law, Per Rogstad, told newspaper Romerikes Blad on Thursday.

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