Mother regrets poisoning three children, asks for new start

Purity Cherono, 32, at Nakuru High Court after she was sentenced to three years non-custodial sentencing by justice Teresia Matheka. [Yvonne Chepkwony, Standard]

August 13 is a day that will be forever etched in the mind of 32-year-old Purity Cherono, who poisoned her three children in the hope of ending their lives, and later on, her own life too.

Cherono's troubles began when her violent husband threatened to stab her with a knife during a scuffle.

Scared for her life, Cherono packed her belongings and together with her three children, fled to the safety of her parents' home in Keringet, Kuresoi North.

"When I left my matrimonial home, I was two months pregnant. I did a manual job until three weeks to giving birth. I was unable to sustain the family and I was constantly being mocked by my family," says Cherono.

However, her peace was shortlived as her father kicked the woman and her children out, claiming that she had overstayed her visit.

Since she could not return to her husband's home out of fear, Cherono and her children set base at Kapkembo centre where she continued doing menial jobs.

But one Tuesday in August 2019, Cherono, burdened by the weight of three children, a due pregnancy and financial constraints, felt that enough was enough.

She says her only option at the time was to kill her children and herself to end the misery. So she mixed poison, gave to her children and left them for dead.

Luckily two children aged 12 and eight years spat the poison. But the youngest child, a six-year-old, swallowed the concoction and died while undergoing treatment in hospital.

The following day, Cherono was arrested, charged and remanded at Nakuru GK Women's Prison, where she gave birth three weeks later.

She spent one year and seven months in remand before being released on bond following reconciliation with her family.

On Wednesday this week, High Court Judge Teresia Matheka sentenced Cherono to serve a three-year non-custodial sentence. She is further required to avail herself at the probation office every month.

While sentencing Cherono, Justice Matheka considered a probation report that indicated the mother of three was remorseful and was going through challenges at the time.

"I have considered circumstances of the offence, and probation report. I give you a chance, therefore, sentencing you to three years' probation, warning you never to repeat such an offense," Justice Matheka ruled.

Cherono, who spoke to The Standard after the sentencing, said she regrets her deeds that resulted in the death of her six-year-old child. She further promised to be a good mother to her remaining children.

"I have made peace with God, with my children and the community, it is not easy," said Cherono.

"If I had sought help and guidance, my child would have been with me now. I have learnt my lesson and I know God has forgiven me."