A man on Wednesday evening allegedly killed his wife in Karatina town, Nyeri County, and tried to set her body on fire before fleeing from the scene.
The body of the woman, identified as Grace Nyambura and a mother of two, was found lying on a bed with bedding partially burnt in a one-room rental house at Jamaica estate at around 4.30 pm.
When the Nation arrived at the scene, hundreds of curious neighbours and onlookers milled around the scene.
The woman’s body had a fresh stab wound on the head and blood-stained clothes and bedding were strewn around the room.
Residents said they were attracted by smoke that was billowing from the room and, upon breaking the door -- which was locked from outside -- they were shocked to find the woman's lifeless body.
They then called firefighters from Karatina who put out the fire.
The assailant, who is on the run, was identified by police as Simon Nderitu.
According to the landlady, Ms Esther Nyambura Wachira, the couple rented the house two months ago and neighbours said they were always quarrelling.
Ms Wachira said she knew the couple as husband and wife but was not aware of any domestic issues.
But other neighbours claimed the two were always quarrelling, sometimes leading to fights.
"On Tuesday the grandmother of the two children came and took them away. We suspect she wanted to take them to a safe place following the bad blood between man and wife. It is unfortunate it has ended this way," said a shaken neighbour who asked not to be named.
By 6 pm, Mathira East police boss James Barasa and chief detective Jackson Muriuki were still at the scene trying to gather evidence.
Mr Barasa said the matter was being treated as murder.