Julie Ward inquest hears of
By Patrick LowmanA REPORT from the pathologist who carried out a post-mortem examination on East Anglian adventurer Julie Ward was altered to make it look like she was attacked by animals rather than murdered.
By Patrick Lowman
A REPORT from the pathologist who carried out a post-mortem examination on East Anglian adventurer Julie Ward was altered to make it look like she was attacked by animals rather than murdered.
The claim by Dr Adel Youseff Shaker was heard yesterday during the first full British inquest into the death of Ms Ward, whose mutilated and charred remains were found on the Masai Mara game reserve in Kenya in 1988.
It was also claimed that Ms Ward's murder was initially concealed in an attempt to protect the Kenyan tourist industry from adverse publicity.
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Dr Shaker said his boss, Dr Jason Kaviti, had changed the words “clean cut” and “sharp” that he had used to describe Ms Ward's injuries to “blunt” and “torn” so it appeared she had been eaten by wild animals.
The statement by Dr Shaker was read out at the inquest, held at County Hall in Ipswich, by Detective Chief Superintendent Terry Hackett, of Lincolnshire Constabulary.
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He took the statement from Dr Shaker in 2002 after he was asked to lead an independent inquiry into the original investigation following complaints from Ms Ward's father, John.
The inquiry was ordered after the millionaire hotelier claimed the Kenyan Government, the Foreign Office and Scotland Yard had prevented the killers of his only daughter from being found.
Dr Shaker made the statement from the USA, where he now lives, free from the constraints that he claimed were placed on him by the Kenyan authorities.
Ms Ward, 28, from Brockley Green, near Bury St Edmunds, vanished after her jeep become stuck in a gully as she was driving alone across the Masai Mara in September 1988.
Days later her remains, which included part of a leg and a jawbone, were discovered just yards away from where her belongings were found smouldering in the seat of a fire.
Dr Shaker, who had left his native Egypt to work in Kenya, was asked by the Kenyan police to carry out a post-mortem examination on the remains and was handed the lower part of a left leg, half of a jawbone and a lock of hair.
After inspecting the bones, he told Paul Weld-Dixon, who had become close friends with Ms Ward during her eight-month stay in Kenya, that he was “dealing with a case of murder”.
Dr Shaker observed the leg was 38cm long and belonged to a white female aged between 25 and 30.
He said it had been bisected by a clean cut fracture below the knee and that there was a sharp 7cm to 9cm wound on the side of the leg that had been embedded with burnt cloth.
Dr Shaker added the leg had been severed in a running position and there was a clear-cut fracture to the jawbone.
He concluded the remains showed evidence of sharp implement injuries and the remains were later matched to Ms Ward through dental records.
But Dr Shaker claimed that when Dr Kaviti, who was Kenya's director of public health at the time, examined his report, he shook his head, saying “No, no, no”.
He added: “I could tell by his body language he was not happy and I could see him underlining words in my report.
“He said it was only my opinion the wounds were clean cut and that they were torn. He changed the words. I was not happy about this, but he was my boss.
“He asked me to sign it, which I did, but I knew it was untrue to say she had been eaten by wild animals.”
Dr Shaker said a furious Mr Ward and an official from the British High Commission in Nairobi, who demanded to know why he had changed the report, later confronted him, so he took them to see Dr Kaviti.
He added: “Dr Kaviti told Mr Ward that I didn't know what an animal attack looked like because there are no hyenas in Egypt.
“I was so embarrassed and ashamed. After the meeting Dr Kaviti made a comment about arrogant white people.”
Dr Shaker said he had wanted to laugh at the “nonsense” that was later suggested during a meeting between Dr Kaviti and Kenyan police commissioner Philip Kilonzo, where it was claimed Ms Ward had been “a loose woman” who could have committed suicide by “cutting herself up”.
The pathologist also claimed he had been told not to contradict his boss at an inquest into Ms Ward's death in 1989.
Dr Shaker claimed both he and Dr Kaviti had been called by a lawyer prior to the hearing and he had been warned not to contradict his boss and to stick to the story about “animals with sharp teeth”.
Meanwhile, Jenny Jenkins, a former consular assistant at the British High Commission in Nairobi, told the inquest the Kenyan authorities had stalled on the investigation into Ms Ward's death to protect its tourist industry.
“I believe the Kenyan authorities were stalling for time to protect their tourist industry. The last thing they wanted is bad publicity in a popular area like the Masai Mara, which could deter people from visiting.” she said.
Ms Jenkins went on to admit that she thought Mr Ward had been acting “over the top” when she had first met him a few days after his daughter had disappeared.
However, she added ss the facts unfolded, she realised something was not right and the alleged events surrounding Ms Ward's death had not matched up
Ms Jenkins also told of a bizarre meeting between herself, Mr Ward and Kenyan police adviser David Rowe, who claimed Ms Ward had been struck by lightning.
She said: “I do believe this was a red herring and the Kenyan police had asked him to come up with the theory. I believe David knew more about the death than he let on.”
Ms Jenkins also told of a rumour that the son of President Moi may have been involved in the killing, which made the investigations even more sensitive.
“I think the Kenyan authorities tried to back track and cover up because they didn't do enough at first. The investigations were very slow,” she said.
Yesterday's inquest had started with evidence from Mr Ward, who lives in Brockley Green.
He started by describing his daughter's happy childhood, but become visibly emotional as he described the horrifying moment he found her severed leg and jawbone, close to the seat of the fire in a deserted spot on the game reserve.
Mr Ward flew to Kenya as soon as he heard his daughter had gone missing while driving alone on the Masai Mara. She was attempting to get back to Nairobi after a few days photographing wildebeest on the plains.
After organising an aerial search, Mr Ward found his daughter's Suzuki jeep stuck in a deep gully several miles from the Sand River camp where she had been staying. She had drawn a SOS signal in sand on top of the jeep.
Mr Ward described how he had climbed down to the vehicle and started shouting “Julie, Julie”, but there had been no sign of her.
He was later flown to a small thicket on the reserve where he was met by park rangers who took him to a leg laying in the grass and a jawbone. He was then taken out to a big tree, which had an orange towel hanging from the branch.
Mr Ward said: “Under the tree was a seat of a fire with ash about two inches deep. In it was a mug, a pair of sunglasses and there was an odour of burning flesh. That was all that was left of Julie.”
The inquest is being conducted by Greater Suffolk coroner, Dr Peter Dean, who paid tribute to Mr Ward.
Opening the hearing, Dr Dean said: “I want to take this opportunity to pay tribute to the resolve and tireless dedication shown by Julie's father over the 16 years since this tragedy occurred.
“It is highly unlikely that but for those efforts this inquest would have
taken place at all.”