Muthoni planned to escape the night she and her four children were murdered

Residents of Kathata village in Kirinyaga mill around the scene where a man killed his wife and four children. [Courtesy]

Before the night Millicent Muthoni was murdered with her four children, she had visited her parents' home with her thirteen-year-old daughter. With her was a bag full of her clothes and those of her other children -- and she announced that she was ready to come back home without the consent of her husband.

This information was revealed by Muthoni's elder brother Patrick Njiru, the family spokesperson, who said that on that Sunday, Muthoni had spoken to their eldest brother Mugo, who was in the compound. She told him that she did not have plans to say in her matrimonial home because her husband, Paul Murage, had threatened her with death on Saturday night.

Njiru added that Muthoni said, "Were it not for the three other children I have left behind at Murage's, I would not go back. I am coming home tomorrow (Monday) to stay for good. The death threats are too many. I am afraid he might kill me." 

At around 5pm, Muthoni, accompanied by her daughter, went back to Murage's with a plan to run away without him noticing.

Little did they know that would be their last day alive and their escape plan would be cut short.

That Sunday, Murage had been seen at Kianjiru shopping centre. He even went to Muthoni's home some metres from the centre -- perhaps to find out whether she was home. That morning, Muthoni had left the house she shared with Murage and their children on the pretext that she was going to church.

Njiru narrates that, on Monday night, he got a phone call from the Kathata chief who informed him that his sister and her four children had been murdered. When he informed his other siblings, they all rushed to the scene and found the bodies lying on their beds.

When Njiru asked Murage why he killed his wife and children, he blamed the devil for misleading him. He also narrated how he was led to a witch doctor at Rukanga who gave him some paraphernalia that he would administer to their bed so that Muthoni never left even after being threatened.

Murage also said that he bought an axe at the Kianjiru shopping centre -- the same one he used to butcher his family.

"I would be at peace if Muthoni and her children were buried at our home (and not her matrimonial home), since her clothes and those of her children are still at our house. It meant she was determined to come back home," said Njiru.

He also disclosed that the family of Njuki Gichobi (Murage's family) has never at any one time called or even visited to apologise on behalf of their son.

"We have never seen Murage's family coming to console or apologise on behalf of their son. They have been spotted busy in police stations and courts, trying to find out know the fate of their son. But they are not even minding about the family that has been left behind," Njiru added.

The standoff has been over where the five will be buried. The family had at first sought to bury them in their Kianjaru home, but according to Njiru, a public health officer informed them that five people cannot be buried in such a set-up where the piece of land is 30ft by 10ft, especially since the additional graves would bring the total graves in the compound to nine. 

"We were issued with a notice by the public health officials that the five cannot be buried there since there are four other graves -- where our parents, brother and sister were buried," Njiru stressed.

Muthoni's family has since decided to instead bury the five on their mother's piece of land in Mwea.

The postmortem that was done on Monday showed the five died of excessive internal bleeding and from deep cuts on their heads.

The murder weapon, an axe that Murage had thrown into a nearby river, was retrieved from the river by homicide detectives. 

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