This week we have been treated to the horrifying reality that there are mass murderers amongst us, an alleged serial killer was unveiled to a shocked public. A calm and soft spoken watchman was shown on tv handcuffed and leading the police to scenes of his crimes. His name is Phillip Onyancha, 32 years of age.
He had killed 17 people, almost all of them women, and went on to drink their blood. He had been told to do so by only he knows who. And as a psychiatrist friend pointed out to me serial killers are often the nice neighbour, very clever and well liked and he disproved my theory that they are a product of economically advanced societies.
The media have had a field day broadcasting the spectacle and the public has lapped up every morbid detail. But then serious questions should come to mind as well. Such as how should a crime scene be managed, certainly not with journalists, family members and the public walking all over it baying for the suspect’s blood. Will it ever be possible to detect whether other people were involved in the crimes. A sharp lawyer would make quick work of trashing the evidence.
But then the suspect led the police and the media to the sites where he dumped the bodies and sure enough they found numerous remains. He calmly informed reporters of his deeds, showed no remorse and perhaps exhibited some pride in his handiwork. Did he want to get caught?
We need to ask is not a violation of legal procedure to display a suspect in such a dramatic ‘made for TV’ manner. They even allowed the media to interview the man. The law clearly states that the man is innocent until proven guilty and should be advised of his rights that include not incriminating ones self, creating grounds for the suspect to claim he may not get a fair trial. And that is how the police screw up many a prosecution case and murderers walk free.
The other question I would ask is how long would this man’s murder spree have lasted before he was caught if he had not deviated from his usual practice and instead killed a boy and demanded ransom. He apparently had a target of 100 victims. The crime scene management and investigations by police are woefully inadequate and noone had connected the dots and probably never would have. But just consider this: ever man and woman in Kenya over the age of 18 years has all their finger prints on file, that is the price they pay to get a national identity card. This would make police forces the world over deliriously happy if they could enjoy the same facility.
To get someone’s finger prints in the developed world would require their consent or the police who have to have arrested and charged the person. How ever in Kenya, despite all the finger prints on file, they are all on paper and the process is manual, therefore making the system work as an efficient database is out of the question. Criminals walk away scot free.
Infact all the police had to go on was the man’s confession, if he had not shown them where to look would they have found the bodies?
I often see police officers touching guns and other assorted weapons with their bare hands at a crime scene and if the system worked every single person over the age of eighteen who had ever touched that weapon or walked through a room could be identified very quickly.
Alas, this is not the case, yet. So we can only wonder how many other nice charming, softly spoken men of above average intelligence are stalking the innocent public. I hold my breath.