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Serial killer: The doctor’s verdict

By | June 14th 2010

By Cyrus Ombati

The ‘evil’ spirits self-confessed serial killer Philip Onyancha claimed turned him into a mindless and indiscriminate murderer and sucker of human blood are innocent, a psychiatrist has ruled.

Consequently, the doctor says the man in police custody whose vile crimes include methodical hunt, enticement and eventual killing of his victims, who include women and children strangled behind silent walls, is fit to stand trial. Consequently, police are burning the midnight oil in readiness to have him charged this week.

Relatives of Catherine Chelang’at, who disappeared in November 2008, were still in shock, days after it was discovered Philip Onyancha, below, lured her to a rooftop and killed her.

The doctor’s assessment came along with news that police have arrested two of his accomplices, who joined him in the cells along with the woman he claimed inducted him into a blood-sucking cult. And the hunt is on for another on the run going by one name ‘Mohammed’.

He is of sound mind, is accountable for his actions, and should face justice, ruled Dr J Njau, the Rift Valley Provincial Psychiatrist who examined him on Wednesday. The doctor’s verdict is bound to shock Kenyans who thought Onyancha’s was an act of lunacy and mental derangement to boot.

It will also reignite national debate on what drives one to perpetrate such macabre killings, especially Onyancha’s 19 out of his target of 100 killings that, in his mind and probably those of his cultic handlers, would given access to wealth he would flaunt around like the rich whose homes he took care of as a night guard.

Said by friends to harbour volcanic temper, an introvert and an aloof student, Onyancha has taken the fright of crime in Kenya to another level —given how easily and undetected he went about his killings, many involving money-hungry prostitutes he lured to seedy, dingy downtown motels. In the chase for a few crumpled currency notes, they died in his hands, and in his words, he never was even interested in what was on offer.

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He was just driven by the scent of blood, the guttural sounds made by the dying, and their last kicks — including nine-year-old Metan Baraza and 22-year-old Mercy Chepkirui, whose bodies he said he dumped on the shores of Lake Naivasha, a small tourist haven.

They include the two commercial sex workers he picked in Thika — Hellen Nyambura and Jackline Wambui, both 25 years old — who he killed in hotel rooms. It is here that the terrifying story of a serial killer with a distinctive mark below the left eye socket gained currency, but police dismissed as a crude joke among prostitutes.

Apart from Nyambura and Wambui, her colleagues in the trade claim two more are missing and believe the same hand snuffed out their lives.

Police sources revealed Onyancha, who says he confessed because there was nothing else to do after having been caught, would be taken to court either tomorrow or Wednesday.

Also set to appear in court are his two suspected accomplices arrested within Kawangware in Nairobi. The search for ‘Mohammed’ is still on.

Onyancha’s confessions have shocked the nation and raised questions about the ability and seriousness of police to combat serious crimes. The man confessed he has been killing and drinking the blood of children and women since 2007, has killed every time his former employer, G4S, transferred him and has killed every June 6 since he embarked on his wicked cause to kill 100 people.

Why investigations into the death of all the people he confesses to have killed failed to point a finger towards Onyancha beats logic. The revelations also bring into question the ability of ordinary citizens to identify criminals and help police arrest crime time after time. Police reveal they have already prepared several files against Onyancha.

His two suspected accomplices were arrested last week after Onyancha mentioned them and investigations thereafter confirmed they were accomplices in the murder of nine-year-old Anthony Njirwa and extortion of money from his parents. They were said to have been involved in kidnapping and extortion of money before they were arrested by police.

Police were on Sunday preparing committal bundles for the case, which will be presented before the Director of Public Prosecutions today before the suspects are arraigned in court.

Onyancha appeared before the doctor last Thursday in Nakuru as detectives visited one of the scenes he said he killed and dumped the body of an unknown woman.

Self-confessed serial killer Philip Onyancha shows police a hole where the decomposing body of a woman he had killed lay.

Onyancha will also be taken to Nakuru where he is also expected to face at least two murder charges.

Murder files

In Nairobi, police said they had finished at least three murder files, ready to be taken to the DPP before the case is brought before court.

The Head of Special Crimes Prevention Unit Richard Katola said their investigations are progressing well. "We have at least three concrete cases we hope to sustain in court," he told The Standard.

Police have now stopped visiting scenes where Onyancha claims to have dumped some of his yet-to be-identified victims because of the hostile reception they usually receive when they take him along with them and the public want to lynch him.

The latest was when Onyancha led police to a thicket near Lenana School where he claimed he dumped two bodies of women when a crowd chanted war cries, baying for his blood.

Police cocked their guns and sped off that Friday afternoon.

Onyancha on that day revealed five more victims he killed in cold blood in Nairobi alone.

He led detectives investigating the killings to two lodgings in Dagoretti Corner where he said he killed two women and sucked their blood on Valentine’s Day this year.

The management of the lodging said they were near Lenana School where he said he killed and dumped two bodies of middle-aged women believed to be from the Luhya community. "I do not know their names because I used to shake their hands before they followed me to the places where the bodies were later found," a weary looking Onyancha told police.

He told police in June last year he killed a middle-aged woman in her room in Gikomba Market. The body was recovered from Room 207 of the second floor of Mt Kenya Building.

A caretaker of the building Evanson Maina said they discovered the body of the woman three days later.

"We did not know who killed her but there was a man who used to come before he vanished. She rented the house and paid Sh7,000," said Maina.

In Nairobi in November 2008, Onyancha says he killed Catherine Chelang’at and hid her body on a rooftop in Karen shopping centre.

Nine were killed in Nairobi, four in Thika, one each in Nyeri and Nakuru and four in Naivasha.

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