Kiambu family killings suspect denies charges

Friday, April 16th, 2021 00:00 |
Lawrence Warunge (centre) being escorted to a Kiambu court in January. Photo/PD/FILE

Lawrence Simon Warunge, the 22-year-old university student who confessed to killing his parents, two siblings and a farmhand, yesterday pleaded not guilty to the charges.

Warunge, who virtually appeared before Kiambu High Court judge, justice Mary Kasongo, faced five counts of murder.

He was accused of murdering his father Nicholas Njoroge Warunge, his mother Ann Wanjiku Njoroge, his brother Christian Njenga, his cousin Maxwell Njenga and James Kinyanjui Wamba, a farmhand.

The Court heard that he committed the offences on the night of January 5 and 6 this year at Karura village, Kiambaa Sub-County in Kiambu county.

Justice Kasongo set May 11 as the pre-trial date and also directed that the accused be remanded at the Nairobi Industrial Area remand prison.

On January 26, Warunge was found mentally unfit to stand trial and the court ordered that he be held at the Mathari National Teaching and Referral hospital for treatment.

However, early this week Dr Ngugi Gatere, a psychiatrist, declared that he was fit to stand trial.

“He suffered from substance use disorder at the time of the alleged offence. Currently, he is of normal status and is fit to plead”, said the doctor in a letter addressed to the court and the prosecution.

Section 163 of CPC requires that where a person of unsound mind is subsequently found capable of making defence, the officer in charge of the mental facility will inform the DPP who will then decide if the case will continue or not.

Section 12 of the Penal Code states that suspects of unsound mind are not criminally response for any act or omission. However, they may be criminally responsible for such crimes if the mental state does not prevent them from knowing that the act was wrong or against the law.

Warunge shocked the world early this year when he confessed to the murders.

He had described his parents to the police as “satanic and killers” and that he had planned the murders for about three months. He said he had been inspired by British TV series Killing Eve.

His father, who worked in the United States as a nurse, had arrived home two weeks before the murders.

Two of the suspect’s sisters survived the murder because they had left for boarding school the previous day.

The suspect claimed he was being neglected by his parents and that his siblings were siding with them.

After killing his family members, he showered and ate the food  his mother had cooked, watched a programme on TV and slept on his father’s bed. 

The following day, he travelled to Mai Mahiu, his girlfriend’s home where he  hid   incriminating evidence. 

After his arrest, he led the police to  a pit latrine where he had thrown, among other things, the kitchen knife used in the  killings and blood-stained clothes.

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