What you need to know:
The prime suspect in the gruesome killing is Naomi Wanjiku, a court clerk at Karatina Law Courts.
Barely a week later, on April 17, a 30-year-old woman was killed and her body hanged in her house in Kianyaga, Kirinyaga County.
In the wee hours of April 11, 2020, a milk firm manager and his daughter were murdered while they slept at their Kioru village home in Kirinyaga County. Charles Murimi, 49, and his 13-year-old daughter, Valery Njeri, were bludgeoned to death with a blunt object.
If this was a normal crime, it would easily have been labelled as a robbery gone wrong. Except it was not. The prime suspect in the gruesome killing is Naomi Wanjiku, a court clerk at Karatina Law Courts.
She was accused of the double homicide of her husband and daughter as well as attempting to kill her son.
After the attack on her husband and daughter, the judicial officer is said to have proceeded to her son's house, and asked him to open the door.
Unsuspecting, Felix Njine, a first year university student woke up and opened the door, only to see his mother armed with an axe, baying for his blood. She reportedly vowed to kill her entire family and tried to attack him, but he managed to duck and restrain her. The real motive behind the attack remains unclear.
30-year-old woman killed
Barely a week later, on April 17, a 30-year-old woman was killed and her body hanged in her house in Kianyaga, Kirinyaga County. Police say Jane Wawira suffered head injuries before her body was hanged, allegedly in an attempted cover up.
The victim’s husband would later be arrested at Kianyaga Police Station, where he had gone to report his wife’s death, alleging suicide.
Kirinyaga East sub-county Deputy Police Commander Patrick Nyaanga at the time reported that the suspect had quarrelled with his wife at Kiandai village.
In a more recent incident, a 37-year-old woman was last week stabbed to death in broad daylight at Kwavi market. Ms Mary Onyango succumbed to her injuries as she was being rushed to Sagana Sub-County Hospital.
Witnesses said the assailant confronted Ms Onyango at her business premises accusing her of having an affair with her husband.
The two qarrelled after which the assailant drew out a kitchen knife and stabbed Ms Onyango repeatedly. The assailant was later arrested.
The three incidents are now part of the worryingly rising statistics of homicides in Kirinyaga County this year.
Homicide detectives have been a busy lot since the beginning of the year. In just eight months, at least 25 murders and two suicides have been reported, almost three times higher than the whole of last year.
Kenya National Bureau of Statistics (KNBS) data shows nine murder cases were prosecuted in Kirinyaga courts in 2019.
The killings in Kirinyaga may be unrelated, but motives can be divided into two — domestic wrangles and violent robberies.
Security officials insist that the high statistics are not a reflection of the county’s security situation, but rather due to poor conflict resolution mechanisms.
“Kirinyaga is one of the safest counties in this region. But when you look at issues of domestic violence, that is a matter police can have very little control over,” Central Regional Commissioner Wilfred Nyagwanga told the Saturday Nation.
“When a man wakes up one morning and decides to kill his wife in their home that is very hard to prevent. This is a problem in society and not really a security lapse,” Mr Nyagwanga said.
Psychologists have blamed the rising violence in homes to outdated cultural beliefs where couples and conflicting parties resort to violence rather than talk out issues.
Authorities are now calling for a societal approach in tackling the problem.
“We need to involve the society, from the Nyumba Kumi to even the church. These issues can only be resolved at community level,” Central RC Nyagwanga said.
However, robbery related murders are also on the rise this year. Five bodies were found dumped in different parts of the county. Circumstances surrounding five other murders were reported as unclear.
Five people have also been killed in theft-related incidents. Four suspected livestock thieves were lynched by a mob in Mithuthini while a guard killed in a break-in at a construction site in Kutus Town.
In the lynching incident, six suspects raided the village in the wee hours in a bid to steal goats and cows belonging to the residents.
In some instances, bodies of unknown people are usually dumped in rice canals, mostly in Mwea, after victims are killed elsewhere.
Authorities are also on the spot for failing to resolve murders in the past.
According to KNBS data, 76 murders have been prosecuted in the last five years but only seven have yielded conviction. This has been blamed largely on either complacency or inability by police to investigate murders and the slow judicial pace.