'Julie's killer can still be caught'

THE inquest into the death of East Anglian adventurer Julie Ward took a dramatic twist yesterday when the Kenyan Government said it was prepared to re-open the murder investigation.

THE inquest into the death of East Anglian adventurer Julie Ward took a dramatic twist yesterday when the Kenyan Government said it was prepared to re-open the murder investigation.

On its third day, the hearing was interrupted mid-session when a representative from the Kenyan High

Commission released a statement from a Kiraitu Murungi - the Kenyan Minister for Justice and

Constitutional Affairs - who said he was prepared to consider "new evidence" and take steps to bring

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those responsible for Ms Ward's murder "to book".

The move was welcomed by Ms Ward's hotelier father, John, who suggested any new inquiry would

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need to concentrate on the possibility of a Kenyan citizen of considerable status being involved in the

brutal murder of his only daughter.

The Kenyan High Commission representative, who has been observing the evidence all week,

handed out the statement to journalists as they waited for the afternoon session to resume.

It read: "The death of Julie Ward in the Masai Mara Game Reserve in Kenya in September 1988

remains one of the unsolved mysteries of the era of President Daniel Arap Moi.

"President Mwai Kibaki's Government has a vision of a safe, secure and prosperous Kenya, in which

the lives and property of all persons in Kenya are protected by the rule of law.

"We are keenly following the proceedings of the Coroner's inquest. Should any new evidence be unearthed, the Government will take all the necessary steps to bring the culprits, irrespective of their status in our society, to book and ensure that ultimately justice is done in this sad case.

"It is clear that efforts made by Miss Ward's father to get to the bottom of the case did not meet an

adequate response from the Kenyan authorities at the time.

"There even appears to be some prima facie evidence of deliberate obstruction of his enquiries by some officials in the previous regime. Our Government is determined to ensure that its criminal justice system is transparent and that all injustices and inefficiencies of the previous regime are exposed and addressed."

The statement also referred to other unsolved murders the new regime, which came into power in

2002, is keen to investigate in order to deal with the country's "dark and ugly past".

One is into the murder of American missionary John Kaiser, who was shot dead in Nakuru around five years ago. He had periodically visited Kenya over a 20-year period in the 1970s and 80s.

It is said that during his time in Africa, Mr Kaiser became increasingly critical of the President Moi's regime. He became particularly vocal of the way the Government distributed aid and food and was

also highly critical over the way the regime handled the Julie Ward inquiry.

Mr Ward, 70, who lives in Brockley Green, near Bury St Edmunds, is now confident the new regime

will conduct a fresh murder inquiry.

He said: "This is brilliant news, it is what we have been aiming towards for some time now.

"I am surprised it has come so early, we are only halfway through the evidence and the Kenyan

Government has reacted.

"I am now sure there will be a new inquiry, this is just one segment of the orange, the real answers will come out in Kenya, they have to, that is where the murder happened."

Mr Ward added he is confident the people responsible for killing his daughter can still be brought to justice and that he has two new strong lines of inquiry to give to the Kenyan authorities.

"This has always been a solvable crime, but the first investigations were heavily restricted, they didn't want it to be murder.

"There are two new lines of inquiry that have been on-going for sometime, but they were impossible to follow-up under the old Government.

"We have got new evidence to put on the table in Kenya, so I am sure there will be a new inquiry. It's a slow process, but murder is a horrible business. There are people out there who did it and they are people who can be caught."

Mr Ward then went on to hint at the direction that at least one line of new inquiry may take.

He said: "There has always been an assumption there was a cover-up to protect tourism. Nobody seems to have considered they may have been trying to hide an individual.

"If that is the case the individual may have been very highly placed - because people of a high level were involved in the cover-up."

Mr Ward has spent nearly 16 years fighting for the truth about his daughter's death. In 1988 he found

her charred and mutilated remains on a deserted spot the Masai Mara and claims the former Kenyan

Government, the British Foreign Office and the Metropolitan Police have all tried to prevent him from

identifying the people responsible.

Earlier in the hearing, at County Hall, Ipswich, Mr Ward questioned retired detective chief

superintendent Ken Thompson, who spent four days in Kenya looking at the case in January 1990.

Mr Ward asked Mr Thompson about a report he had written following his visit.

"You appear to have glossed over or ignored controversial issues," said Mr Ward. "You must have

had a pretty good knowledge that things were not too straight in Kenya at that time. I am amazed you

only went for four days."

Mr Thompson told coroner Peter Dean: "Certainly my role was not to criticise the Kenyan government or the Kenyan police. I may have phrased one or two points to avoid the accusation I was being critical of the investigation."

John Cullum, who was assistant chief constable of Suffolk at the time of Miss Ward's death, told the hearing how he had attended a meeting at the Foreign Office in January 1989. He said officials had indicated that the Kenyan authorities would not welcome the arrival of detectives from Suffolk.

"The Kenyans would not allow us into the country and would not co-operate with Suffolk police officers," he said.

"I got the impression that people were really feeling their way where to go. If we were to say that we didn't think much of the Kenyan investigation and we were going out to re-run it, we would have been met with a stone wall."

The inquest continues today when a former M16 agent, known only as Mr A, is expected to give evidence via a speaker system in order to protect his identity.

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