Suspect in murder of Syombua, children turns State witness

Wednesday December 11 2019

Mr Peter Maina Mwangi appearing in a Nyeri court on December 11, 2019. He was released after agreeing to become a prosecution witness in the case involving the murder of Joyce Syombua and her two children. PHOTO | JOSEPH WANGUI | NATION MEDIA GROUP


A suspect arrested in connection with the murder of Joyce Syombua and her two children in Nanyuki has been released by a Nyeri court.

Peter Maina Mwangi was set free after agreeing to become a State witness, a move that has strengthened the prosecution’s case against Ms Syombua’s ex-lover, Mr Peter Mugure, who is the prime suspect in the murder.

Nyeri Chief Magistrate Wendy Kagendo released Mr Mwangi after detectives discovered that he was not directly involved in the murder but was privy to information involving the incident in respect to planning, execution and disposal of the bodies.


Mr Mwangi, an electrician, was arrested in Nanyuki town on the evening of November 28 by homicide detectives from the Directorate of Criminal Investigations (DCI).

He was suspected to be among the killers who executed Ms Syombua (31) her daughter Shanice Maua (10) and son Prince Michael (5).


The three bodies were found stacked in a gunny bag and buried in a shallow grave in Makaburini within Nanyuki.

When he was produced in court for the mention of an application to detain him, the court heard that the suspect will not face murder charges but will be a State witness in the case.

“The DPP has discovered the suspect was not directly linked with the crime but is assisting police with investigations. He is now a key prosecution witness,” State Counsel Martha Ndung’u explained.


During his detention at Kiganjo Police Station Nyeri, Mr Mwangi is said to have shared crucial details about the murder.

Senior Assistant Director of Public Prosecutions Peter Mailanyi said Mr Mwangi has since been instructed to be reporting to the DCI Nanyuki offices regularly for monitoring.

“We are no longer detaining him but he will be reporting to the DCI Nanyuki,” Mr Mailanyi said.

Mr Mwangi was arrested after detectives learned that he was in constant communication with the prime suspect prior, during and after the murder.

Mr Mugure, a former military officer at Nanyuki Airbase, together with a casual worker at the station, Mr Collins Pamba, is scheduled to take a plea next week.

They are locked up separately at King’ong’o and Kerugoya GK prisons.