Inside the twisted minds of stalkers - Daily Nation

A peek inside the twisted minds of 'love' stalkers

Saturday April 13 2019

stalking someone

An illustration of a woman stalking someone she is attracted to. Stalkers can harm themselves or the object of their attraction if they fail to have their way. PHOTO | FILE | NATION MEDIA GROUP 

By VINCENT ACHUKA
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By MOHAMED AHMED
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A scar on her left hand reminds Ms Ummy Omar what she went through.

Ms Omar got the mark as she attempted to leave the house of Abdi — a man who made her life difficult for two years. Abdi was her stalker.

On one fateful day in 2016, Ms Omar had gone to his house. He had stalked her for three months.

He used to follow Ms Omar to school and at home. He would stare at her without saying a word.

“One day, I took the decision not to attend my classes and go to his house to seek answers. I thought the only way out was to confront him,” the Business Administration graduate from Technical University, Mombasa, says.

WANGECHI

While at his house in Bamburi, Abdi told Ms Omar that he loved her and he would abduct her if she turned down his request.

She decided to leave, warning him of dire consequences if he continued following her. “As I approached the door, he grabbed me and pushed me on the floor where something cut my hand. He only let go when he saw blood,” she says.

Ms Omar was lucky to escape with only a scar. But Ms Ivy Wangechi, the Moi University student who was killed mid this week by a man who claimed to love her, was not.

Her decision to ignore Mr Naftali Kinuthia’s calls turned fatal.

Mr Kinuthia told police in his hospital bed that he was obsessed with the sixth-year medical student, “but my love was never reciprocated”.

RAGE

Eldoret East Directorate of Criminal Investigations boss Ali Kingi interrogated Mr Kinuthia.

“He said he was angry because she continued to ignore his calls. He said it was not the first time he was sending her money and that he was not happy to be denied a chance to celebrate her birthday,” Mr Kingi told the Saturday Nation.

“The man said he felt disrespected after all the love he had shown her.” Mr Kinuthia claimed to have sent Ms Wangechi Sh14,000 for her birthday three days before the brutal killing.

He added that he was angry because she did not pick his calls.

He then drove from Nairobi to Eldoret with an axe and a knife which he used to kill her in broad daylight.

FATAL ATTRACTION

What happened in Eldoret could be an isolated case but it had the signs of a dysfunctional relationship, where one party loves the other to dangerous levels.

Psychologists call this fatal attraction. It is a kind of love that borders on obsession.

Without help, the disorder can get so bad that one who has it stalks the person he wants, or contemplates killing anyone standing in his/her way of happiness or upcoming completion.

While announcing the decision to make Mr Joseph Kori a witness in the murder of his wife Mary Wambui two weeks ago, police said Mr Kori’s mistress Judy Wangui had been dumped days before the murder.

According to police, Ms Wangui was so angered about being dumped that she even visited his house on the day she reportedly killed Ms Wambui.

HOMICIDE

The door was opened by Mr Kori’s six-year-old son, who Ms Wangui offered to buy pizza.

In the process, Mrs Wambui came to the door, starting a chain of events that would end with her body being found near a river.

Based on news reports, at least two people in Kenya are killed every month by those who claim to love them.

Data on the number of homicides that took place last year will be released next month.

What is available shows an increase of 4.7 per cent in the number of people killed from 2014 to 2017.

Police say 2,774 people were killed in 2017 while the number was 2,649 in 2014. Unfortunately, the causes of the killings are not shown.

KAMANDE

Police spokesman Charles Owino says the upsurge of murders related to love can be attributed to societal pressure.

“My advise to Kenyans experiencing pressure from people they don’t like is to avoid them. Just say no coffee; no tea; no presents,” he says.

While sentencing Ruth Kamande for killing her lover, Justice Jessie Lesiit said nothing can justify murder.

Ms Kamande hit the headlines after she stabbed her boyfriend 25 times at their Buruburu house in 2015.

She claimed to have found out that Farid Mohamed was cheating on her.

Ms Kamande was so obsessed with Mohamed that she had formed a habit of following him to work or crying when she failed to get his attention.

OBSESSED

She also used to go through his phone. “Young people should know that it is not cool to kill their girlfriends or boyfriends. It is cool to walk away and forgive thereafter,” Justice Lesiit said.

The prosecution said Ms Kamande, who won a beauty pageant while in remand at Lang’ata Women Prison, was obsessed with her boyfriend and extremely jealous and possessive”.

Dr Philomena Ndambuki, a psychology don, says people with such levels of obsession have an excess malfunctioning sexuality disorder.

“This is where someone wants to have sex with you at all costs. The more distance you keep, the crazier the person gets,” Dr Ndambuki says.

She adds that such people suffer from borderline personality disorder.

People who have this condition are angry all the time and prone to making frantic efforts to avoid abandonment. They are likely to commit suicide,” she says.

RESTRAINING ORDER

In the 1987 Hollywood movie "Fatal Attraction", a married man gets into an affair with a woman but is not ready to commit.

The woman starts showing up at events her ‘man’ is attending.

In the end, the man gets a restraining order from the court. This makes it easy for police to respond on the day the woman wants to stab him.

Mr Charles Mwalimu, a criminal lawyer, says it is possible for one in Kenya to get a restraining order in a situation of stalking.

He however argues that since the villains are likely to send the people they stalk text messages, it would have been easy to deal with them had section 29 of the Kenya Information and Communications Act not been declared unconstitutional in 2016.

JUSTICE

This law had created the offence of “using a licensed telecommunication system to send a message...that is grossly offensive or of an indecent, obscene...for the purpose of causing annoyance, inconvenience or anxiety to another person”.

The penalty for the crime was a fine not exceeding Sh50,000 or a three-month jail term.

Before the law was repealed, hundreds of jilted lovers found themselves in prison.

Today, one can file in court under certificate of urgency for as little as Sh5,000 and protect oneself from a stalker.

“It won’t be in your best interest to pursue a criminal suit, but you can get an ex parte order under the 2015 Prevention of Violence Act even without a lawyer,” he says.

“You only need to convince a magistrate by way of text messages, calls or witness statements.”

Additional reporting by Jeremiah Kiplagat and Edith Chepngeno