A 28-year-old man from Kibingoti village in Ndia, Kirinyaga County, has left residents in shock after killing his mother, two hours after displaying ribbons in their compound.
According to family members, Gitau stabbed his mother Tabitha Muringo Mwai, 58, with a kitchen knife before fleeing.
“He escaped from angry residents who wanted to kill him,” said the elder sister Lucy Wanja.
In what appeared to be a pre-meditated murder, Gitau had hung red ribbons at various points around the home before attacking his mother.
“Gitau hang red funeral ribbons from the main gate to the cattle shed. He was preparing to kill my daughter,” said Esther Muthoni, Gitau’s grandmother, amid sobs.
According to Muthoni, Gitau had in a previous incident knocked out his mother’s tooth, but the family resolved the matter.
“Little did we know he would eventually snuff out his mother’s life,” said Muthoni.
“We have been wondering why he decided to display the red funeral ribbons before killing his mother. Is it normal?” posed Kibingoti Nyumba Kumi chairman John Mwangi.
Kirinyaga West sub-county Police Commander Martha Ng’etich said the weapon used by the suspect in the murder had been recovered.
By a twist of fate, Gitau was lynched by residents moments after he sneaked back home reportedly to kill his second victim, his deaf brother.
According to neighbours, the suspect had returned home under the cover of darkness to attack his brother, only for his siblings to raise the alarm, attracting the residents.
Gitau was wielding a machete when he was cornered by an irate mob. He had intended to attack his deaf brother who lives in the same compound.
Nyumba Kumi Chairman Mwangi said Gitau was caught red handed as he prepared to strike his brother.
Wanja, who was up at the time Gitau struck screamed, attracting neighbours. Gitau fled but villagers gave chase and cornered him. The beat him to death.
Police commander Ng’etich said police arrived on the scene as an angry mob prepared to bury Gitau’s body.
“Police had a hard time trying to calm the crowd who wanted to bury him. There was a lot of resistance from the public to abandon the mission,” said Ng’etich.
Ng’etich called on the public to stop taking the law into their hands.
“It is very wrong for the mob to have taken the law into their hands. He was supposed to be handed over to the police so that he can face murder charges but he is already dead,” she said.
Wanja said they became fearful after Gitau killed their mother and vanished.
“We were fearful since we never knew where he was or when he would strike,” said Wanja.
“We are at peace now. We can meet in peace as we prepare for the burial of our mother,” she added.
In a separate incident, police have rescued an elderly man who had gone into hiding in Kimunye village in Gichuhi Sub-county after killing his wife in neighbouring Mwea.
The man is suspected to have gone into hiding for fear of being arrested.
Armed police officers whisked him from irate members of the public who wanted to kill him.
Kirinyaga East police boss Anthony Mbogo confirmed the incident, saying the suspect would be arraigned as soon as he is processed.