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Heartbreak as Embu woman torches herself and two kids

A businesswoman together with her two children aged below 10 years died on Tuesday afternoon, after she set her house on fire in Mugoya village, Embu county in a tragic suicide incident.

Caroline Wanjiru, 37, her eight-year old daughter Grace Ashley Murugi and her two and half year old son Paul Macharia were burnt beyond recognition in the noon inferno.

She is reported to have locked the gate to her home and then locked herself together with the children inside the bedroom, doused the room with petrol and then set the house on fire.

Her husband, Mr Charles Mugendi, a senior officer at bank in Siakago, was away when the incident occurred.

A boda boda operator who declined to be named said the deceased had sent him to buy three litres of petrol shortly before neighbours noticed the fire that had engulfed the storied building.

“I didn’t suspect anything since she has a car. I thought the vehicle had stalled and she wanted to go somewhere. She didn’t appear distressed in any way,” said the man.


A neighbour, Ms Daisy Njagi said they heard a distress call coming from the house, and then saw smoke billowing from the house.

They struggled to break the steel gate as it had been locked and a car parked closely to block it.

“The gate and the doors were locked. We broke the doors to assist the victims who locked inside the house,” said Ms Njagi.

She described the deceased woman as a calm person who never showed signs of distress.

“I used to see her taking the children to school daily. She was a calm person,” said Ms Njagi.

Mr Morris Nyaga, who was among the first to arrive at the scene, said they used buckets of water in an effort to put out the fire before the Embu county fire engine arrived.

Embu West Police boss Francis Sang’ said several gas cylinders which had been assembled inside the bedroom also caught fire.