Major Peter Mugure’s family describe him as a “humble” and “harmless” man, who grew up with a clear vision and goal in life. Mugure, 34, is the key suspect in the murder of Joyce Syombua, 31, and her two children, Shanice Maua, 10, and Prince Michael, 5.
Peter Mugure’s mother, Hannah Mugure, says that she knew about Syombua’s existence in 2005, when Peter, her sixth child, introduced the then 17-year-old Syombua to her.
“He told me that he would marry Joyce upon completing his studies. I even visited Joyce’s mother, and we talked,” Hannah Mugure, 75, told Citizen Television on Wednesday, November 20.
Peter’s sister, Nancy Wambui, says the two were deeply in love, and “rarely did they fight physically or engage in verbal exchanges”.
Wambui’s statement contradicts that made by Syombua’s mother, Elizabeth Maua Malombe, who alleged in a recent interview with The Standard, that the couple’s relationship was marred by domestic abuse.
According to Peter’s sister, Wambui, Peter and Syombua developed irresolvable issues in their relationship in 2006, leading to their split.
That was the last time they heard of their brother’s love affair with Syombua, they said.
Syombua’s friend and former schoolmate at St. Bernard’s Secondary School in Kayole, Farizana Katengu, however reveals that Peter and Syombua got married shortly after they [Katengu and Syombua] sat their KCSE in 2009.
“She [Syombua] got pregnant with Shanice but they separated after eight months, and Syombua went back to her mother’s house in Kayole,” said Katengu.
According to Katengu, the couple would later resolve their differences and rekindle their relationship, leading to the birth of Prince Michael in 2014.
Peter’s family, however, claim they were not aware that their kinsperson and Syombua ever had children together.
“I am surprised to learn that there were children said to be sired by my son. I never knew about them, or saw them,” Peter’s mother, Hannah, said.
Peter’s other sister, Alice Mugure, suggested that if he ever had children with any woman, he would have told them. “My brother is an honest man,” said Alice.
Peter’s younger sister, Wambui, suggests that she does not believe her brother killed Syombua and the children.
“Based on how I know him, he cannot even hurt a fly,” said Wambui, adding: “He is a man of very few words. He has a welcoming heart.”
“My brother has never smoked [cigarette or bhang]. He is also a teetotaler,” added the other sibling, Alice.
According to Peter’s mother and sisters, the suspect last visited them in their Kayole home in early November 2019.
Major Peter Mugure is the chief suspect in the murder of Syombua and her two children, who were on Saturday, November 16, found buried in a shallow grave in Makaburini, Thingithu area in Laikipia County.
The three went missing on October 26, a day after arriving at Mugure’s Laikipia barracks residence.
It has since been established that in July 2019, Syombua won a child support case she had filed against Mugure, who was allegedly refuting claims that he sired Prince Michael and Shanice, and, therefore, he wasn’t responsible for their upkeep.
The court, K24 Digital understands, ruled in favour of Syombua after DNA test results confirmed Mugure as the two children’s biological father.
The soldier was consequently ordered to pay Ksh75, 000 per month on the children’s maintenance.
Until October, Mugure had reportedly paid the money to Syombua for three months. Friends told People Daily that Mugure would often complain about the sum of money he used to part with for child support.
Mugure was arrested on November 15 in connection with the mother-and-children’s killing.
He was arraigned on Monday, November 18, when detectives successfully asked the court to hold him for 21 days as probe into the murders of Syombua and her children continue.
Postmortem examination on the three bodies revealed that Syombua was fatally struck with a blunt object in the head, whereas her two children were strangled using a rope.
The bodies are preserved at the Nanyuki Teaching and Referral hospital mortuary.