My brush with death: How I survived knife attack in Murang'a

Lucy Muthoni

Ms Lucy Muthoni shows a scar that formed after her stab wounds healed. Lucy was attacked and stabbed on November 4, 2022 as she walked home in the evening.

Photo credit: Mwangi Muiruri | Nation Media Group

It was on November 4, 2022 when a lone attacker preyed on Ms Lucy Muthoni, 47, with an intention of murdering her.

She had closed her roadside fruits' hawking business at Mbombo stage in Murang'a at 7.45pm and set off on foot towards home.

"My home is just a 20 minute had been routine for the decade that I had been in this hawking business," she says.

Halfway home, at around 8pm, on a lonely path that passed through unoccupied land, she saw a silhouette emerge from a thicket.

"Apprehension was a strange happening since in my history of using that route I was not used to seeing people emerge from the bushes," she told Nation.Africa.

She only remembers shouting at the small framed man and who had dreadlocks to identify himself.

"He muttered something inaudible as he advanced my way. In the high tension filled moment, I only noticed that he had a rope that had a noose...Instinct told me the prime target could only be my neck," she recalls.

"I shouted to my God that this was his battle and should not let the devil in front of me win it".

She says she heard a voice shout in her mind, "Fight! God will bless the work of your hands".

And the battle for her life started in earnest, locking hands with the attacker, they wrestled for a while as none of them was willing to lose.

"But I knew that my safety relied on getting hold of the rope that he was now holding with his mouth so as to free his hands for the wrestling duel. I knew if I managed to wrestle him down for he was not energetic, I stood a survival chance," she narrates.

With one desperate move, she recalls grabbing the attacker by his genitals, squeezed them and pulled hard to a point the man began screaming out in raw anguish.

"I was bending to bite those things that I held with my both hands...I noticed his right hand move into the insides of the sweater he wore...saw it come out holding something that resembled a blade and my world exploded into that of excruciating pain," Ms Muthoni narrates.

She said that she first felt the ball of pain explode in her head, then in the outside of her left bicep and then on her breast.

"I fell down in total surrender. I saw the silhouette of the man disappearing from the scene...the pain in my body was maddening and I could smell my own blood that was uncontrollably escaping into the soil on which I lay," she said.

She mastered all the strength she had left and began crawling home.

"On all fours, in a desperate effort to reach home and die as my husband and three children witnessed, I trudged on," she recalls.

When she arrived, she saw her last born son aged 13.

"I faintly heard him scream, then some voices and flashlights surrounded me as some [people] wailed," she recalls.

She raised her right hand up and waved goodbye and blessings to her husband Phillip Kombo and their three children, before she drifted off into unconsciousness.

She regained consciousness five days later while receiving treatment at Maragua Level Four Hospital, and was discharged 10 days later.

The hospital's medical superintendent Dr Stephen Ngigi says the medics who attended to her were amazed by Ms Muthoni's will to live.

"Just about the time we were making a decision to transfer her to Kenyatta National Hospital for specialised treatment, she would show signs of waking up," he said.

Dr Ngigi added that while Ms Muthoni was admitted with three deep stab wounds on the head, the left bicep and on her chest. Her survival rate was below 30 percent, which dipped to below 20 percent by day three due to excessive bleeding.

"But by day four when we had excavated blood that had spilled into her lungs, the survival rate shot up to about 60 percent, improved to 70 percent when she woke up on the fifth day...and after 15 days in our care, she left our hospital walking on her feet," the doctor said.

Ms Muthoni recorded a statement at Maragua police station, but no suspect has been arrested.

"It was an interesting attack. I had two phones worth Sh20,000 and also was carrying about Sh3,000 in cash. Nothing was stolen in the attack," she said.

Maragua Assistant County Commissioner Joshua Okello said “the problem with her case was the scant information that was available to guide an action plan”.

“Apart from the description that the attacker was small framed and had dreadlocks, no more details were available.”

Murang’a South Deputy County Commissioner Gitonga Murungi said “her case prompted us to launch an intelligence-led serious crackdown on area criminal networks where we nabbed 25 bhang dealers, 16 illegal brewers, as well as nine muggers.”

All these suspects were convicted at Kigumo law courts and were handed custodial sentences, he added.

Ms Muthoni said the attack remains a mystery to her “since I am sure somebody wanted me dead.”

She said she has since overcome the fear that gripped her following the traumatic experience, “but I have endured…I no longer walk home [alone]...and my husband always comes for me after I close my hawking business at 7 pm.”