She was young, beautiful and bubbly. Aged only 22, Susan Wanjiku Kihiu was a bright student and scored a straight A in her KCSE examination, securing admission to the University of Nairobi.
She was pursuing a law degree when her life was cut short in June 30, 2013, by a neighbour who accused her of having a love affair with her husband.
The killing left the Maai Mahiu family devastated. They are yet to come to terms with the tragedy.
After almost five years in the corridors of justice, the accused, Cecilia Waruguru Muriithi, has been handed a life sentence by the Naivasha High Court for the murder.
The particulars of the case stated that between the night of June 30 and July 1, 2013, at Kingori Estate, Maai Mahiu, the accused murdered Susan Wanjiku Kihiu.
Delivering the ruling, Justice Richard Mwongo noted that the murder was a crime of passion but the accused pretended that she was never involved and put forth a “defence that was found to be flimsy and fictitious.”
He said the death involved multiple stab wounds and scalding by either hot water or a chemical substance.
“After the murder, the body was thrown in a field not far from the deceased’s home,” said Justice Mwongo. “In my view, a non-custodial sentence will pass the wrong message to many thousands women and men stuck in situations where their spouses are in romantic affairs with girlfriends and boyfriends, commonly known as mpango wa kando,” stated the judge.
He further noted that a non custodial sentence “may even trigger the idea that murder is fashionable and rewarding, and an appropriate cure for mpango wa kando. Malady cannot cure murder.”
Having said that Justice Mwongo sentenced Cecilia to life imprisonment with effect from April 1. He added that the sentence “shall be subjected to review after 20-years upon the accused’s demonstration of good conduct.”
She was given 14 days to appeal.
The accused’s lawyer, Mr David Gichuki, in mitigation told the court that the 36-year-old was a mother to two school-going children who needed her care.
He further stated that she was remorseful and pleaded with the court for leniency.
However, Justice Mwongo said the accused cunningly lured Susan to her death. Susan’s aunt, Ms Zipporah Thuku, hailed the sentencing, saying it had “pacified” the family. Her father, Mr John Kihiu Mwangi, termed the ruling as “remarkable” but said the case took too long.