Beth Wambui
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Birthday party, war of words… and death: The sad story of Beth Wambui

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Beth Wambui in an undated picture. Right: The casket bearing her remains during the burial ceremony.

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On April 7, 2024, Beth Wambui left her Kandara home in the evening after lying to her mother that she was visiting a friend at the nearby Kenol town in Murang’a County. 

It later turned out that the 17-year-old girl had gone to a bar where her peers were holding a birthday bash for a colleague, only for her to be attacked and left for the dead five hours later. 

The brutal attack and her death drew the attention of both county and national leaders — including President William Ruto who described it as “a clear case of sexual and gender-based violence”.

Preliminary investigations show that the girl and her friends enjoyed food and drinks at two bars in Kenol town — Club Michigan and Club 126.

“The girl was first seen at Club Michigan participating in the birthday bash of one of her friends” the police report reads in part.

“She later left the bar in the company of several friends — both males and females — and moved to Club 126 in what their age mates refer to as party-after-party indulgence.” 

Beth Wambui

Beth Wambui full of life in an undated picture.

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According to witnesses who were interviewed by detectives, Beth picked an argument with some of her friends “but at around 10pm, they all left the place (Club 126) aboard three motorcycles”.

It is not clear what transpired on the road before things went south, with Beth being abducted, knifed, and doused in acid.

Barely alive and writhing in pain, passersby found her dumped near Kabati Police Station, some two kilometres from the party zone, a few minutes to midnight 

“Police from the station… took her to a nearby public hospital but owing to the then ongoing health practitioners’ strike, she was transferred to a private one in critical condition. The incident was booked at 40 minutes past midnight,” the report reads. 

Beth Wambui

Beth Wambui being visited by friends and relatives in hospital.

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According to police, “observable injuries when she was found included burns on the face, chest, abdomen, thighs and legs. Her right ear and both breasts were severed. Preliminary investigations deduced that the burns were as a result of acid (corrosion)”. 

Beth fought for her life for more than a month, undergoing five corrective surgeries, before she succumbed to injuries on May 25, 2024.

The girl’s parents, Peter Kirii and Esther Njeri, on Sunday told the Nation that they were still distraught following the death of their daughter.

They demanded justice.

“My daughter had told the police that five people were responsible for her attack. Police had earlier arrested three of them but released them under unclear circumstances. Unconfirmed reports tipped me that the suspects placed a Sh50, 000 cash bail,” Mr Kirii said. 

Beth Wambui

The casket bearing the remains of Beth Wambui during the burial ceremony.

Photo credit: Courtesy

Murang’a police commander Mathiu Kainga said they were still pursuing leads that they believed could crack the case open.

“We are taking this case with all the seriousness it deserves and it is a matter of time before we crack it.  We have since formulated possible motives for the attack”. 

The police boss said they were pursuing a possibility that Beth was raped by a person or persons known to her before the attackers plotted a murder to cover their tracks. 

“We are also pursuing a possibility of some of her female friends fighting over a boyfriend, a drug-induced malicious attack, as well as possible revenge from other families that are said have been accusing one of her close family members of defiling a neighbour’s daughters,” he said. 

Before her death, Beth’s medical bill had risen to Sh2.2 million. Dr Ruto contributed Sh1.5 million through Murang’a Woman Representative Betty Maina. 

Peter Kirii and Esther Njeri

Beth Wambui's parents, Peter Kirii and Esther Njeri

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During Beth’s burial at Karugia village on June 7, 2024, Ms Maina read condolences from the Head of State. 

“It is with a heavy heart that I send my condolences following the demise of Beth…She fought her injuries with a brave heart, undergoing five corrective surgeries…and we were prepared to foot the bills if that was what was required to see her live,” President Ruto’s message read.

“But God took her home. It is a sad story that should not go unnoticed for the cruelty that it came to be. Our justice system must be seen, heard and felt to work with speed for her justice. It is a clear case of Sexual and Gender Based Violence that must not go unpunished.”

Ms Maina took issue with the fact that police were yet to arrest the suspects.

“We are not after fairy tales from the police. I have since briefed the president that no suspect has been arrested…I have also informed Interior CS Prof Kithure Kindiki that his officers must get this family justice”. 

Murang’a Senator Joe Nyutu said “police must realise how hollow they sound telling us about their investigations that a month later are yet to nab the real suspects…Murang’a police leadership must know that we are all expecting real justice for Beth, nothing more, nothing less”. 

Meanwhile, Club Michigan and Club 126, which were ordered shut by Murang’a South Deputy County Commissioner Gitonga Murungi on April 21, 2024 “until investigations are complete”, reopened two weeks ago.