A 28-year-old barmaid allegedly tied up her two children and slit their throats in their Nairobi home on Thursday night before attempting to take her own life.
Mary Nduta was angry and distraught after separating from her husband and left a suicide note, police said.
They said she apparently used a kitchen knife to attack seven-year-old Yvone Njeri and two-year old Maxwel Waiganjo.
Their mother had tied them with bed sheets in their Mwiki area single-room house.
She stabbed herself in the neck and lower abdomen with the same knife and collapsed in a pool of blood. Nduta was rushed to Mama Lucy Hospital, treated, discharged.
She is in custody at Mwiki police station, awaiting completion of investigations before she is charged.
“We found bed sheets around their necks, an indication she strangled them to keep them from raising the alarm,” a family friend told the Star, declining to give his name.
Neighbours said they did not hear a commotion but became alarmed at around 9am when they noticed blood seeping under the door. They broke in, found the scene of slaughter and called the police and ambulance.
Police took the bodies to City Mortuary. Relatives closed the house.
“Preliminary investigations indicated the woman was desperate after separating from her husband [James Mwangi) two months ago,” Kasarani divisional police commander Robinson Mboloi said.
She had left an apparent suicide note, saying she had had enough her her husband and stating she did not want to be buried at his homestead, Mboloi said.
She asked to be buried in the same coffin with her two children, he said. She wanted the bodies take to St Francis hospital, where she had given birth.
A neighbour told the Star Nduta moved into the house two months ago. She would borrow her padlock before leaving and return it the following day or the same night.
On Thursday she returned the padlock, and repaid Sh100 she had borrowed from the neighbor.
“She spent the whole day Thursday at home and looked jovial,” the neighbor said.
Neighbours said she worked as a waitress at a neighborhood bar after separating from her husband.
The children lived with their father and joined her two weeks ago.
The Star met her husband at the police station but he declined to comment. He drove to City Mortuary to transfer the bodies.
Mud-spattered shoes belonging to the mother and her two children were scattered around the doorstep.