Met Police backs new Julie murder probe

SCOTLAND Yard chiefs have told the father of murdered Suffolk adventurer Julie Ward they would back a new probe into the photographer's brutal death and have offered to send detectives to Kenya to investigate new leads.

SCOTLAND Yard chiefs have told the father of murdered Suffolk adventurer Julie Ward they would back a new probe into the photographer's brutal death and have offered to send detectives to Kenya to investigate new leads.

Commander of the yard's murder squad Dave Armond has confirmed to John Ward that he is prepared to designate officers to the case if the Kenyan authorities re-open inquiries as previously promised.

The development has sparked Mr Ward into planning a trip to the African country within weeks to present new evidence he has found, which he hopes will persuade the Kenyan Government to launch a fresh probe immediately.

"I am planning to meet with the Kenyan Justice minister Kiraitu Murungi see what they are prepared to do," said Mr Ward.

"I will give him all the new information I have got in hope the Kenyan Government will then go ahead with the promise it made during the inquest into Julie's death last year to launch a new investigation."

The Scotland Yard backing came during a recent meeting between Mr Ward, the Lincolnshire police force - which recently completed a four-year independent review into the original murder investigation - and Mr Armond.

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Mr Ward, a former hotelier who lives near Bury St Edmunds, said: "Mr Armond told me Scotland Yard is prepared to support me in any way they can.

"Due to what has gone on previously I remain cautious about Scotland Yard's involvement, but Mr Armond said he couldn't talk about what has happened in the past and that he wants to concentrate on the future.

"He said any investigation would be a completely independent operation with absolutely no interference from anybody else, so in that respect I am very pleased."

Mr Ward was hoping to wait until he had seen the final report by Lincolnshire police, who were called into to investigate the original murder probe after Mr Ward claimed Scotland Yard, the British Foreign Office and High Commission and the Kenyan Government had colluded to prevent him from finding his daughter's killers.

It is a claim that leading Lincolnshire detectives said had "significant" substance when they attended the first British inquest held into Ms Ward's death in Ipswich last year.

The report has now been handed to the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC), which has so far failed to release the entire report to Mr Ward who says he can wait no longer before going to Kenya.

During the inquest, Kenya's Justice Minister Kiraitu Murungi said the Kenyan authorities would re-open the case in a bid to rid the country of it's "ugly" past under the former Moi regime.

Both Mr Ward and Lincolnshire police say there are a number of "significant" new leads that need to be investigated.

Ms Ward vanished in September 1988 as she travelled alone across the Masai Mara game reserve at the end of trip photographing wildlife. Later, her father found her charred and dismembered body parts scattered across the famous safari park.

Initially, the Kenyan Government claimed she was eaten by wild animals, but following Mr Ward's own dogged investigations, it was forced to admit she was murdered.

Yesterday, a Scotland Yard spokesman said: "Scotland Yard is in the process of arranging a meeting with the Kenyan authorities. If a request for assistance is made from the Kenyan authorities through the Foreign and Commonwealth Office we will provide any assistance we can.

"We have offered support to Mr Ward and will continue our dialogue with him."

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