Woman who hacked family to death was violent, had affair

Joyce Wanjiru, 32, is said to have been aggressive but her husband tried to restrain self, discouraging help from third parties

In Summary

•It's still unclear why woman killed herself and family as no one survived to tell story

•She allegedly had affair with boda boda rider and often beat up husband

The deceased couple and their daughter
ALL DEAD: The deceased couple and their daughter

The woman who hacked her husband to death using an axe before strangling her children and hanging herself was violent and had an affair with a local boda boda rider.

Thome Five estate's Nyumba Kumi chairman Geoffrey Mwangi told the Star on Wednesday that Joseph Gitau, 37, had reported repeatedly that his wife Joyce Wanjiru, 32, would beat him up whenever they had domestic dispute.

Gitau, however, did not allow anybody to intervene due to embarrassment, Mwangi said.


Mwangi painted a picture of a man protective of his marriage and always restraining himself from overreacting during their conflicts, a virtue that got rewarded with an axe cut and knife stab in his back.

He had also reported that his wife of 10 years was cheating with a boda boda rider in their neighborhood, making the Nyumba Kumi chairman to expel the boda boda man from the area to protect Gitau’s marriage.

“He had reported even to the chief about their marital problems, including that the wife was abusing him. But he always discouraged any effort to have another party help mediate between them,” Mwangi said, adding that Gitau was a calm and friendly man who was a teetotaler.

Mwangi said the body of the man was found in bed, soaked in blood while that of the older  child lay on a three-seater couch. The younger child's body was on a small bed while that of the woman hung from the roof.

The two children, aged five and three, had foam on the mouth and nose with signs of strangulation on their neck while the man had wounds on the back of his neck and a knife stab wound on his back.

“We found the man’s body partly lying on bed and knees almost reaching the floor, suggesting that he was a sleep or at least lying on bed at the time of attack and that he tried to rise up but succumbed in the process,” he said.

The bodies were found on Tuesday afternoon. It is still unclear why the woman killed herself and family as no one survived to tell the story.


An axe and a knife covered in blood were recovered from the single-roomed mabati house by the officers from the neighboring AP post and are being preserved as exhibits for further investigation.

Wanjiru’s father Joseph Maina Mbuthia said his son-in-law was a “classic man who truly loved my daughter.”

Mbuthia, who hails from Murang’a, said he was called by her daughter on Monday at 3am, telling him that she had a conflict with her husband and that she would go to her father’s place at Korogocho slums in the morning.

This, however, he said, was not to be as he waited the whole day to see hisdaughter but instead received the bad news of her death alongside all her family.

Like everybody else, Mbuthia, who works as a knife sharpener in Gumba area, expressed his dismay at the turn of events, saying that he knew his daughter’s marriage had issues “that were normal to every marriage.”

He denied that the daughter had an affair, asserting that their domestic challenges started when the couple’s roadside food vending business collapsed.

The couple operated a roadside food business which collapsed after city council askaris chased them a way.

A friend who first saw the bodies told the Star it was he who helped Gitau to get casual work as a gardener while the wife sold food to construction workers around the area.

The bodies were taken to City Mortuary for post-mortem.