House help was promised Sh 1 million for murder of Joyce Wambui Githitu

Police, relatives and friends at the home of renowned Thika business woman who was killed by unknown assailants.The lady identified as Joyce Wambui Githitu was murdered by unknown people moments after returning home from work Photo: Kamau Maichuhie/Standard

A close relative could be behind the spine-chilling murder of wealthy Thika businesswoman Joyce Wambui Githitu.

Joyce was killed last month by a gang that first sexually assaulted her before smashing her head with a crowbar.

According to police, Purity Wanjiru, Joyce’s house help had testified that  some time last year, she was promised Sh1 million to be part of the murderous plot. A down payment of Sh500,000 was to be paid for her to ‘cooperate’, but she only received Sh100,000 delivered to her by John Muchira two days before the murder.

Purity’s brief was to leave the main door unlocked after her boss arrives home on the fateful night of February 27. A task she fulfilled.

Joyce, 58, was confronted in the bedroom where the four-man gang first raped her in turns, before killing and leaving without stealing anything from her home in Maki estate, Thika.

The CCTV system in Joyce’s house was disabled prior to her arrival.

The deceased operated Githitu Wholesalers, one of the biggest outlets in Thika town, besides having interests in real estate. Detectives pursing several motives of the killing have stumbled on fresh info that might implicate the relative who handsomely paid the killers.

Purity worked at a Thika hotel as a waitress before she was introduced to Joyce by one of the cashiers at her wholesale shop. At the time, Joyce lived alone.

Purity is said to have plotted the murder in collaboration with a relative, whom detectives say wanted her dead to inherit her vast wealth.

“In planning the murder, the relative probably thought the chance of inheriting the wealth was high once Joyce was out of the picture,” said the source.

Purity was arrested alongside Cyrin Conrad Chege, Vinius Mariga Ngugi, Tom Kariuki Kiungo, John Maina Mwangi, James Munene Gatugo and John Wanyoike Muturi.

Joyce’s husband, Peter Githitu, was killed in broad daylight gangland style in Thika town in 2006. The couple had one child, Mercy Waithera, who is married to Cyrin. Her daughter and son-in-law, Cyrin, lived in a separate home belonging to the Githitu family.

The involvement of a relative theory aside, investigators are also trying to establish whether the killing was as a result of a business deal gone sour. It was alleged that Joyce might have met her death after failing to pay one of the suppliers.

Murang’a County Commissioner John Elung’ata said police suspect the killing could have been organised by a businessman who supplied Joyce with alleged stolen fertilizer.

“The police also traced the killer weapon which has been part of the investigations. We are yet to know who gave out the money,” said Elung’ata, adding that detectives are pursuing other theories that he did not want to reveal.