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Kiambu man kills mother, buries her body in garage

On Madaraka Day, Geoffrey Mathenge joined other young men in Rungiri, Kikuyu Constituency to dig a grave in which his uncle would be laid to rest Thursday.

In such occasions, the hot-blooded men take time to share stories, and crack jokes, as they take turns in digging and shovelling out the sand.

In retrospect, three days later, on Saturday, some of the men at the grave remember Mathenge, or Jeff as everyone calls him, was characteristically quiet, and when he spoke it was softly.

DUG MOTHER’S GRAVE

But in a bizarre turn of events, Mathenge, only three days earlier on Sunday, had dug another grave, he confessed to police on Friday. Three feet deep and long enough to fit an adult human body. His mother’s.

The residents on Saturday left their houses and solemnly gathered at Mathenge’s home in Muthure, Kikuyu Constituency. They had come to witness the exhumation of the body of Rose Njoki, a mother of three adult children.

The house of the deceased. PHOTO | KIUNDU WAWERU
The house of the deceased. PHOTO | KIUNDU WAWERU

They spoke in whispers as the hours wore on, anxiously waiting for police officers to confirm that indeed Mathenge had killed his mother.

The people gave the garage, built next to the tile-roofed bungalow, a wide berth, for it is here Mathenge, who is being held at the Kikuyu police station, said he buried his mother.

GONE MISSING

“She had gone missing since Sunday,” says the Gitaru location chief, James Gitau.”

“Her daughter, who lives in Thogoto, after checking with relatives became suspicious of his brother, and yesterday (Friday) had the police apprehend him in Rungiri,” added Kabete MP Ferdinand Waititu who also came to the home.

On Saturday, people came and left as the police who had stood guard at the homestead overnight said they were waiting for the a permit and for the government pathologist who was in Thika for another exhumation.

As conspiracy theories as to the reasons why Mathenge committed the act flew about unabashed, fuelled by the long wait, Mathenge’s sister, Catherine Mumbi reluctantly opened up.

A married mother of two, Mumbi, 30, and the lastborn (Mathenge is the second born. Samuel Gathece, the first born died two years ago of pneumonia) says she last spoke with her mother last Saturday when she told her about the death of her uncle, the brother to her father.

“On Sunday, I went to mourn with the family, but was surprised that mother did not come.”

But since her mother is estranged from her father since 2005, she thought probably this was the reason.

But by Monday her phone was not going through. After the estrangement, says Mumbi, her father left, remarried and settled in Ruiru. The parents have had a court battle which she would not comment on.

“I rarely speak with my brother Jeff. But I called him and he said that mother had left on Sunday with a bag and said she would be back on Tuesday.”

Catherine Mumbi, daughter of the deceased. PHOTO | KIUNDU WAWERU
Catherine Mumbi, daughter of the deceased. PHOTO | KIUNDU WAWERU

CAGEY

By Tuesday she was not back. Jeff to Mumbi sounded cagey. Her antenna went up.

“It was not the first time. A few years ago, there was a case that he had strangled a Dr Kimani who worked at a private hospital in Gitaru.”

This is an open secret in the area. In fact, when Mathenge was apprehended on Friday, after Mumbi raised the alarm and he was traced at a construction site in Rungiri, he said that indeed he has killed two other people.

Mr David Gachuraba is the chairman, Community Policing, Kabete Sub County. He was there during the arrest: “He said he had killed a neighbour whose death remains a mystery here. About his mother, he said that he had hit her on the nape of the neck on Sunday, in her living room, and then dragged her to the garage, which was his abode.”

But Mathenge did not give the reason for the heinous act. But on acknowledging that Kabete is home to mysterious murders, MP Waititu speculates: “This was a 37 year-old man, living with his mother, he must have been desperate.”

Around 4pm, the Pathologists accompanied by the police arrived. The garage door was opened but because it was too dark, the roof removed.

BURNT GARAGE

Mathenge, in an apparent move to hide evidence had burnt the garage. “But it was a controlled fire,” says the Gitaru assistant chief, Peter Njoroge.

At about 5pm, a partly burnt up seat, and a bed were thrown out revealing the crime spot. A smell of a decaying body hit the nostrils. People gasped.

The digging started, and before long, the people inside the house — the media had been told not to take pictures — started whispering.

She had been put in a polythene bag, and extracting her body was tricky. The team, wearing masks, took a long time inside the garage. All along, Waititu, also wearing a mask, toughed it out inside never flinching as the body was intricately extracted. Outside the crowd had thickened, young men climbing fences and trees.

The body was finally retrieved and taken to a police Land Cruiser. The body seemed to be partly burnt, but the pathologists declined to comment saying they will wait until a post mortem examination.