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Man kills stepson, then takes his own life

A man murdered his stepson before killing himself on Saturday morning in Rumuruti, Laikipia County. According to the police, Mr Joseph Mwangi Maina, 42, murdered his son who is a grade four pupil at a local school, hanged the body on a tree then also hanged himself on the same tree.

“Mr Maina hanged the body of the son on a tree by the neck using a manila rope and also hanged himself on the same tree,” the police said in a report.

Police officers recovered the deceased man’s cellphone from his house that is located 10 meters from the scene of crime. Upon going through the phone, they found a message sent to the wife, Ms Sera Waithiega, instructing her retrieve a suicide note on a sub-woofer in the house.

“In the suicide note, the man accused the wife of infidelity,” the police report further revealed.

Police officers and crime scene personnel processed the scene and took away two manila ropes, a mobile phone, the suicide note and a yellow 20 liters’ jerry can which the deceased climbed and suspend himself on the tree.

The two bodies were then taken to Sipili Funeral Home awaiting an autopsy.

Cases of suicide have been on the rise this year, with authorities attributing it to mental health. In 2019 alone, police handled 499 cases of suicide and 575 in 2020. At least 313 people are reported to have taken their lives between January and July 2021. The majority of the victims were male, police reports indicate.

Globally, close to 800,000 people die of suicide every year with an estimated 78 per cent of cases occurring in low- and middle-income countries. Kenya ranks in position 114 among the 175 countries with the highest suicide rates.

A task force on mental health established that Kenya has a high burden of mental illness due to ill health, psychosocial disability and premature mortality with huge gaps in access to care.

The team found out that the majority of populations in Kenya associate mental health and mental illness with negative narratives leading to a low focus on the importance and benefits of mental health and well-being.

The team also recommended that mental illness be declared a national emergency of epidemic proportions, to prioritize mental health as a priority public health and socioeconomic agenda.

It recommended that mental health be provided with adequate financing in line with international best practice In Kenya, it is estimated that one in every 10 people suffer from a common mental disorder. The number increases to one in every four people among patients attending routine outpatient services.