Mystery of Othaya man killed after brutal attack on granny

Wednesday March 18 2020

Stephen Mwangi and his wife Elizabeth, parents of the late Elijah Kiiru Mwangi, during an interview with his parents at the home at Kamoko village in Othaya, Nyeri County, on September 12, 2019. PHOTO | JOSEPH KANYI | NATION MEDIA GROUP


Sometime in August 2018, Elijah Kiiru Mwangi was alone in his parents’ house in Mahiga village, Othaya, when he heard movement behind the wooden house and decided to check, armed with a machete.

In the incident at 8am, the 22-year-old attacked the person he found, inflicting serious injuries, only to realise after she screamed for help that it was his grandmother Agripina Wanjiku.

The incident instigated bad blood between him and his extended family and resulted in his murder on August 8, 2019.


The assailants laid ambush on Mr Kiiru at Ndunyu shopping centre at about 7pm, hitting him on the head and other body parts using blunt weapons such as batons.

They later forced him to drink petrol fuel before attempting to set him on fire at a coffee plantation near Kamoko tea-buying centre.

They also broke his jaw and gouged out his eyes, his father Steven Mwangi Wambugu said on September 12.


Mr Wambugu and his wife learned of the killing from a villager.

“His face was disfigured in the gruesome murder orchestrated by people well known to him. Were it not for the fact that he was my son and I knew him, it would have been hard to identify him from the face,” he said.

They took Mr Kiiru from the plantation to Othaya District hospital where he was pronounced dead. 

The parents said one of the police officers at Munyange Police station told them that a mob killed their son.

“We learned that the public tried to stop the assailants from killing our son but they were told it was a family matter so they should be allowed to settle it as such," Mr Wambugu said.

"The assailants were five in number and are our relatives. Only one was their friend."

He and his wife called for the intervention of human rights defenders and the Independent Policing Oversight Authority (IPOA).


Following Mr Kiiru's murder, his aunt Loise Wangechi was arrested as the prime suspect.

It was said that she committed the crime with four accomplices but they were never apprehended.

Ms Wangechi was released on September 6, police saying they did not have sufficient evidence linking her to the crime.

Francis ole Ngachila, the Nyeri South Directorate of Criminal Investigations Officer (DCIO), said that instead of pursuing a criminal trial, the State decided to open an inquest to help police find the killers.

Mr Ngachila did not say when the inquest would begin but he believes it will help police get to the bottom of the matter.


Mr Kiiru's parents protested the decision, saying evidence was available and accusing police of interfering with the justice system.

In the police file registered as number CR253/148, the parents said investigators neither summoned them for court sessions not informed of the decision to open an inquest.

“Ms Wangechi stayed in police custody for two weeks pending conclusion of investigations. Police returned with a response that there was no direct evidence. We have no confidence in the investigators in Othaya," Mr Wambugu said on Saturday

“We know the suspects and there are witnesses at Ndunyu centre who are willing to record statements and tell the truth. The suspects are so powerful that police are afraid to arrest them."

He also said that prior to his son's murder, village elders had reconciled him and his grandmother.

Mr Kiiru attacked the woman unintentionally yet some family members are still seeking revenge, he added.

Mr Kiiru's grandfather had three wives. His father is from one of the houses and Ms Wangechi, the main suspect, from another.