What you need to know:
- The suspect threatened her with death and sent a chilling message that she would be his next victim.
A woman in Meru has revealed how she spoke with a murder suspect on phone as he was being sought by police, and told him he was the ‘devil’ and that the law would catch up with him.
The suspect threatened her with death and sent a chilling message that she would be his next victim. But she told him God would not allow the devil to win, and admonished him for allegedly killing his wife and her son.
On Tuesday, the High Court in Meru allowed police to continue holding Mr Boniface Mutuma for seven days, to investigate the double murder, said Imenti South police boss Abdirahman Musa.
Mr Mutuma is the prime suspect in the murder of Vera Kanario, his wife of two years, and her five-year-old son Caleb Muriithi, on March 25, 2023 in his house at Mitunguu market, Imenti South.
The suspect was arrested on Monday, as it emerged that Ms Kanario was five months pregnant. The Saturday morning incident left Mwithwa villagers reeling in shock.
Ms Dorcas Karegi, who worked at the couple’s house until a week before the murders, recounted how she had stopped working for Mutuma who claimed to be a pastor, saying she noticed the man was up to no good.
He would quarrel his wife until late in the night and at one point told her to take Caleb to his father. But Ms Kanario tried to convince him that there was no problem since she was carrying his baby, she said.
“Vera was a quiet woman and she was so deeply in love with Mutuma that she did not want to disclose to anyone the problems she was undergoing. She also used to give him money. Caleb was a nice boy and I treated him like my son for the three months I worked for them,” said the woman.
Incensed by Mutuma’s action, Ms Karegi decided to call him on Saturday evening as he was being sought by police.
“I could not believe Caleb was dead and the man suspected to have committed the crime was free, so I called him. He picked the call and I told him the law would catch up with him. He threatened me, saying I would be his next victim and said he did not fear the police. I told him he was the devil and God would never allow him get near me,” she narrated.
She added that inside his house, there was a section at a corner where he had placed a shiny ring and black ‘ash’ which he prohibited her from cleaning, claiming it was sacred and that she was not pure enough to touch it. The ‘ash’ was used in a ritual she said would leave his victims dazed.
“After I quit work, he tried to talk me into going back to the house, but I refused. If I had given in he would also have killed me,” said a tearful Ms Karegi.
A close friend of the couple who did not want to be identified said Mr Mutuma had accused his wife of being unfaithful and claimed that he was not the father of the unborn baby.
Speaking at his Igoji home in Imenti South, Mr Simon Nkonge, the murdered woman’s father recalled how he had tried to have his daughter leave the suspected killer in vain.
He had been told by their landlord, Mr Moses Mutwiri, that the couples’ fights would likely lead to tragedy, and so in January this year, he decided to intervene.
“I asked my daughter to leave, but the young man confronted me and asked why I was interfering with their relationship. I asked him, ‘do you know she is my daughter?’ He shouted at me: ‘do you know she is my wife’? I told him to get out of my daughter’s life since I was not aware of their marriage. I don’t know how and when they reconciled because I had rented a house for my daughter,” he said.
On Thursday a day before she was killed, Mr Nkonge called her. “I was fearing for her so I asked, ‘are you okay?’, she said ‘yes’. ‘You don’t meet that man?’ She said, ‘no, only greetings’. I told her that even those greetings should cease. If she had listened to me, we would not be talking of death. My daughter did not deserve to die in such a cruel manner,” the distraught father said.
Investigations also revealed that the suspect had a brush with law enforcers in September and October last year when he spent a night in the cells at Mitunguu police station.
Mr Romano Kirimi, the area manager and community policing chairman, said on September 27, 2022 and October 16, Mr Mutuma was arrested after a trader reported that he had taken a keyboard player worth Sh32,000 and refused to pay.
“He was also very domineering on his wife and after taking a ride on motorbikes he would ask boda boda operators to collect money from a chemist where she worked,” he said.
The clergy in Mitunguu also disowned Mr Mutuma, saying he was not one of them, with the Rev Alex Gichunge, chairman of the area pastors’ forum, stating that at no time had the suspect participated in their activities.
“He was not a pastor within our congregation and he has never attended interdenominational prayers in the area. We are saddened by the killings that were allegedly committed by a man claiming to be a pastor,” Mr Gichunge said.
“We also want to tell members of the community that as much as God anticipated marriage as a holy union with couples swearing by the Bible that they will stay together ‘till death do us part’, God does not anticipate a situation where one partner kills the other. That is not the type of death envisaged in the Bible. If you are in an abusive relationship, please quit. Don’t wait to be killed,” he added.