How Lawrence Warunge planned gruesome murder of his family in Kiambu for 3 months

By Zadock Angira On Sun, 10 Jan, 2021 20:00 | 6 mins read
Relatives and residents of Karura village grief outside the home of a Kiambu family that was murdered earlier this week. [PHOTO: PAUL NJAU | MEDIAMAX DIGITAL]

Inspired by the psychopathic assassin Villanelle, real name Jodie Comer, in a British dark comedy-drama spy thriller TV series, Killing Eve, Lawrence Simon Warunge had planned to clear all his family members on Saturday January 2.

Warunge, 22, who has confessed to the murder of his parents, two siblings and a farmhand, and had described his parents to police as “satanic and killers” had planned the murder for about three months.

He had, however, told the girlfriend that there was something he wanted to do that would make them live in peace, for the rest of their life.

During this period, even as he watched movies, he also practiced how to camouflage, and commit the horrendous act without being noticed.

An investigation has revealed shocking revelation how the macabre massacre, which aborted three times with the second last planned for January 2, was planned and executed.

‘Alibi’

That Saturday, he tried to convince the girlfriend, a teetotaller, to drink and smoke bhang, in vain. He expected the girl to pass out as he rushed to his rural home and butcher his kin and come back. He had hoped to use the girlfriend as an alibi after killing his family using carbon monoxide.

Detectives from the Homicide and the Crime Scene Investigations Units at the Directorate of Criminal Investigations (DCI) headquarters on Saturday recovered crucial exhibits that has unravelled the multiple-victim homicide.

And the suspect has squarely been placed at the scene of crime with the detectives now trying to establish the motive.

The suspect had alleged that he felt neglected by the parents, and that his younger siblings were also siding with the parents.

“He claimed that he felt that the parents were out to kill him,” a senior detective told People Daily.

First, the shoe prints impressions at the scene of crime which were recorded and documented at the scene matched those of the shoes that were recovered in Mai Mahiu on Saturday.

Detectives had done documentation to scale and later confirmed the measurements and sole patterns matched those of the shoes recovered in Mai Mahiu.

‘Lone killer’

Though it was initially suspected that there were at least three killers at the scene, the probe had confirmed that the suspect was alone. After his shoes got soaked in blood, he removed them and walked in the house in his socks. He would later put on the shoes which were recovered in Mai Mahiu before finally putting on a woman’s shoes. He bought the lady’s shoes in Thika.

Detectives have managed, through thorough probe and suspect’s confession to establish what transpired that fateful day.

Warunge asked the girlfriend to buy for him a knife in Thika. The nine-inch knife, with a metallic handle, was among the exhibits recovered on Saturday.

At Thika, the suspect also bought a pair of trousers, a jacket, a lady’s shoes, a piece of wigs and a female doll. He later cut off the doll’s head.

From Thika, the suspect proceeded to Nairobi CBD where he visited Uhuru Park and Holy Family Basilica.

Fearing that he could be searched at the church, he proceeded to one of the supermarkets where he deposited his luggage which were in a red carrier bag, containing the things he bought, plus the knife.

He left the supermarket with the luggage tag, leaving his bag behind, and proceeded to the church. At around 4pm, he went and boarded a Limuru-bound passenger vehicle and on reaching Limuru he took another vehicle home in Wangunyu, Kiambaa.

First killing

On reaching home, he found James Kinyanjui and asked him for a metal bar. He, however, did not disclose what he wanted to do with it. At one point, he was very nervous and when the deceased asked him, he simply said he had a lot of stress, without expounding.

He would later catch Kinyanjui unawares, and hit him at the back of the head several times before he cut his throat using the knife he had earlier bought in Thika. According to him, he decided to slit Kinjanjui’s throat after he ‘refused to die’.

A blood spatter analysis would later confirm that the blood pattern on the wall curtain emanated from a high pressure vein, the throat.

Warunge remained around the initial crime scene until around 8pm when he saw his father was driven home in a taxi.

The main attack

Shortly thereafter, he scaled the perimeter wall. He got shocked by the electric fence but still managed to get into the compound.

The father had brought home some bottles of Balozi beer, some of which were recovered in the house, the secondary scene.

While in the compound, he saw the mother in the kitchen and he proceeded to the main switch and disconnected the power.

He had some paraffin which he sprinkled on a green paper bag and set it on fire, just outside the kitchen door.

Curious to know what was happening, the mother got out and he hit her at the back of the head with the metal bar.

The brother, who heard the commotion and rushed to the door, oblivious of the impending danger was also attacked.

The mother fell down unconscious while the injured brother rushed back to the room.

All this while, the father who was taking some beer in the bedroom upstairs, was not aware that the family was under attack from their own son.

Shortly thereafter, on sensing some commotion, he went downstairs but met the son armed with a knife. He ran back but the son followed him.

Fearing for his life, he jumped from the bedroom balcony. He got injured and the son followed him where he stabbed him several times, before slitting his throat.

He would later hear the father attempting to open the gate, to escape. He pursued him and stabbed him even more, leaving him with his intestines out.

Investigations revealed that at this point he was only on his socks, as he had removed his blood-soaked shoes.

He then killed one of his brothers, Maxwell Njenga, a Class Seven pupil at Wangunyu primary school and went room for room looking for the other brother. He found the brother, Christian Njenga, hiding under his bed in his room. The younger brother pleaded with him to spare his life. He would hear none of that, and stabbed him several times before slitting his throat.

‘No chills’

After killing the family members, he showered and ate the food the mother was preparing and later sat down and watched a programme of television.

He slept on his father’s bed until around 4am when he woke up and asked for a lift in one of the delivery vans. He went to Naivasha and later went to Mai Mahiu, the rural home of his girlfriend who was by then in Thika.

There, he burnt some of his clothes and the mobile phones belonging to his parents which he had collected from the house. He later went to Lower Kabete where he was arrested.

On Friday at around midnight, he switched on his phone and detectives picked his signals.

The suspect, who has since his arrest not panicked or shown any remorse, told detectives that he was shocked to see family members crying and mourning the deaths. He bought some pepper which he would bite or spray in order to tear to appear like he was also mourning.

The exhibits recovered had been thrown into a pit latrine. He even took the detectives to an open field in the same area where he burnt some of the evidence.

The father had arrived in Kenya from the United States about a fortnight earlier where he worked as a nurse. Two of his daughters survived the cold blooded murder since they had gone to school the previous day. One of the sisters is a Form Four student at St Angela Girls School while the other is a Form Two student at Ngiriambu Girls School in Kirinyaga.

One of the witnesses in the case, Steve Njehu, told detectives that on the fateful day, they finished work and he proceeded to Karura shopping centre to relax after a hard day’s work.

He came back at around 9pm and noticed that one of the curtains was blood stained, but the lights were on.

He got in and found his colleague James Kinyanjui lying in a pool of blood on a mattress in one of the rooms.

Police were called who later removed the body.

However, before they left, they knocked at the gate of the adjacent home to find out if the residents had heard anything during the fatal attack. There was no response and the officers concluded that the family had slept.

Strange enough, the suspect watched everything from his parents’ room upstairs, even as police processed the primary scene and finally removed the body.

Tomorrow, detectives are expected to revisit the scene, together with the suspect in what is referred to as scene re-enactment where the suspect is expected, to voluntarily give a detailed account of how the murder was organised from the initial planning to the execution and subsequent disposal of murder weapons.

Everything, including the route used, how he scaled the wall, how the weapons were used, among other things, will be documented.

Autopsy of the slain victims will be conducted tomorrow at Kenyatta University mortuary where detectives are expected to extract further evidential material for toxicology and DNA samples, among others.

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