Crime

Mother 73, Daughter 47 were found dead in cold blood


Could tussle over property be the reason for the murder of a mother and her daughter whose strangled bodies were found in their house in Nairobi’s South B estate.

This was one of the theories of possible motive detectives were pursuing on Wednesday after they stumbled on unsigned property lease in the house where the bodies of Judy Wanjiku Mwai, 73, and her daughter Catherine Nyaguthii Mwai, 47 were found dead.

The lease was found in the house by detectives who were combing for evidence and possible motive behind the Sunday’s macabre murder.

“The copy of the lease could be an indicator. It is one of the possible motives,” said a detective who asked not to be named.

This came as police sought to identify a black SUV that dropped the deceased at their house on Sunday at 2.30am before their bodies were discovered on Monday.

The number plates of the car remained unknown after it emerged guards at the entrance into the compound never recorded them.

Police said they will explore surveillance cameras on roads around the scene of crime and major highways in efforts to identify the driver and owner.

On Wednesday, the guards who worked at the court on Sunday and Monday were questioned by detectives at the Industrial Area police station. Also questioned were neighbours of the deceased persons. There were tenants who have been living at the compound where the main house is built.

Makadara head of DCI Henry Kiambati said they are exploring various theories as the motive for the murder. He said no arrest had been made so far.

“We are yet to know the identity of the driver behind the wheels of the SUV leave alone the number plates. That is part of what we are pursuing now,” he said.

The two women’s bodies were found on Monday inside house number 275 within Golden Gate Court in South B Estate.

Guards said the two first left the house in the four-wheel drive at around 11pm on Saturday.

They returned at about midnight, stayed briefly and left again in the same car, this time with a driver who is yet to be identified. 

The same car would later drop them at their residence at 2:30am on Sunday. That was the last time the two were seen alive. 

They had failed to visit Nyaguthii’s father, John Mwai, in a city hospital on Sunday and Monday as had been routine, prompting a relative to go to their house on Monday evening, only to find them dead.

The elderly woman had been strangled using a sisal rope. Her body was lying on the bed with the sisal rope around her neck and tied on the bed stand.

According to preliminary findings, blood was oozing from her mouth.

Nyaguthii’s body was found on the floor and had injuries on her neck, indicating strangulation.

Mwai was a retired Treasury employee, while Nyaguthii retired from a local bank.

Police suspect they were killed on Sunday night.  

The two would take turns to visit Mwai, who was admitted to a city hospital late August. He has been ailing for the last 10 years.  

Nyaguthii’s sister Peris Wambui accompanied them sometimes. On Monday, she visited her father and realised the two had not checked on him for two days.

From the hospital, she went to their home, but did not get a response when she knocked the door. She forced her way in, went to the bedrooms upstairs, where she found the bodies. She reported the matter to the Industrial Area Police Station. 

Eric Mwangi, a family member, says the two did not express any fears for their lives and they did not have any disputes that he was aware of.

The police aforesaid there were signs of struggle in the room, which indicated that more than two people were involved in the killings. Nothing was stolen from the house as electronics, including the victims’ mobile phones, were found in the room.

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