Ms Ivy Wangechi, the medical student whose promising life was brutally ended on Tuesday, was killed by a man described by her friends as a former schoolmate who was obsessed with her.
The sixth-year medical student at Moi University School of Medicine started the day in high spirits as usual, speaking freely and sharing jokes with some of her patients as she did her routine rounds at Nyayo General Ward at the Moi Teaching and Referral Hospital in Eldoret, where she was doing her final set of practical exams before her graduation later this year.
As she did the rounds, she was oblivious of what Mr Naftali Njahi Kinuthia was planning.
The 28-year-old, who like Ms Wangechi hailed from Thika, was monitoring her movements.
He had earlier arrived at the hospital and parked his car close to the Accident and Emergency wing without raising any suspicions.
At around 10am he alighted from the car, a Honda, with a gunny bag that concealed his weapons.
He walked on a pavement next to the wing and waited for the student to emerge from the hospital’s gate.
It was not clear whether he had called her or he waited to ambush her as she stepped out.
At around 10.30am, she lay on the ground, motionless, dead. Blood splattered all over the scene. Passers-by scared to the bone. She only managed one scream.
It was not clear when Mr Kinuthia travelled from Nairobi to Eldoret. He threatened the few people who rushed to the scene hoping to rescue her, and made sure she was dead before attempting to run away.
An irate public and boda-boda riders stoned him and brought him down, beating him senseless.
But he was rescued by police officers. By last evening, he was fighting for his life, under police watch, at the same hospital where Ms Wangechi had been training.
Whereas details of the motive are scanty, a student close to Ms Wangechi said she on many occasions confided in him about the man who had been stalking her for a year.
The student, who requested not to be named, said the man had asked her to be his girlfriend and had even promised to marry her.
“Wangechi showed us the messages he had been sending to her expressing his love. She told us they were schoolmates in primary school but had lost touch until last year, when they met on Facebook,” the friend said on Tuesday.
They soon exchanged contacts and within no time he expressed his love for her, but Ms Wangechi told him off, promising him to be just a friend like all her former schoolmates.
However, Mr Kinuthia is said to have persisted. He sent her gifts and at one point bought her a phone. She wanted to return it but friends convinced her to use it instead.
When the stalking persisted, Ms Wangechi changed her phone number in January. But the man managed to get her new number and picked up from where he had left off.
It is not known what happened between then and Tuesday, when the man, who was said to be working for a betting company in Nairobi, killed her.
Meanwhile, friends and neighbours trooped to Ms Wangechi’s Thika home to grieve with the family.
The family could not make an official statement but said their pain was worsened when they learnt about the murder through social media.
The daring midday attack outside the busy hospital brought business to a standstill as hundreds of onlookers thronged the scene.
Mr Winston Akama, her fellow student, said that he was with Ms Wangechi as they did their regular rounds at Nyayo Ward before they took a break.
Mr Benethe Ananda, a witness, said the assailant was smartly dressed and did not appear to be planning to kill someone.
“He had a white sack which he pulled an axe from. We heard the lady cry out as he attacked her. We rushed to the scene and found her lying in a pool of blood,” Mr Ananda said.
Moi University Vice Chancellor Isaac Kosgey had a hectic time trying to calm students.
He urged students to remain calm as the university was working with security personnel to find out the motive of the attack and promised to ensure security was improved at the school.
Prof Lukoye Atwoli, the dean, said the incident reflected the general state of insecurity in town.
“This is not the first case of such an incident occurring, and we are counting on the police to get to the bottom of this and give us the full information,” Dr Lukoye said.
Additional reporting by Mary Wambui.