Picture offers new lead in Ward murder

A SHOCKING new picture has been unearthed that appears to show East Anglian adventurer Julie Ward being held captive in a squalid and filthy hut shortly before her brutal murder.

A SHOCKING new picture has been unearthed that appears to show East Anglian adventurer Julie Ward being held captive in a squalid and filthy hut shortly before her brutal murder.

The disturbing photograph shows a distressed blonde haired girl lying alone under a blood-soaked duvet in a squalid and dirty brick-built hut, thought to be on the Masai Mara.

The picture still needs to be authenticated, but if genuine it indicates the horrific ordeal Ms Ward, who was 28, would have suffered before she was brutally murdered and dismembered in 1988.

The British High Commission in Uganda was recently given the picture by a Kenyan citizen, who has now handed it over to Ms Ward's father, John Ward, who lives near Bury St Edmunds.

The man claims to know how and why the keen wildlife photographer was killed.

Mr Ward says the girl in the photograph could be his daughter and is having it checked by computer and photographic experts to ascertain its authenticity.

Most Read

Lincolnshire police, which recently completed an independent inquiry into the original murder investigation, is also believed to be considering the relevance of the photograph.

On learning of the latest developments, Mr Ward immediately flew to Kampala, Uganda, last weekend to meet the man and see the new evidence.

But, after a secret meeting with the man - who claims to have once worked with Kenyan Government officials - Mr Ward has dismissed much of his story as “utter nonsense.”

He also saw six other disturbing photocopied images, which were said to be of Ms Ward, but he has dismissed these as fakes.

The original picture is the one Mr Ward feels could be genuine and he has now brought it back to Britain for it to be tested.

“After meeting and questioning this man, I can say most of his story is completely untrue and utter nonsense,” he said.

“He claimed things that I know just didn't happen. He was after money and I think that is very bad.

“He showed me six other pictures, which he said were of Julie in this hut, but they had clearly been tampered with.

“The original picture shows a blonde haired girl lying under a duvet, part of which is covered in blood. You cannot see all of her face, but some of the features are visible and it looks as if it could be Julie.

“It is not a very pleasant picture, she is lying in a bed in a wholly squalid place that had meat hanging from the walls.

“It is the kind of place that can be found on the Masai Mara. I have brought this picture back with me to have it tested to see if it is genuine. Lincolnshire Police are also looking at it.”

The man Mr Ward interviewed claims he has now come forward to clear his conscience.

He said he was too afraid to reveal his information under the regime of former Kenyan President Daniel Arap Moi and feared he would have been killed.

The witness, who is now living at a secret location with church officials in Uganda, claims Ms Ward was kidnapped, held captive at a hut on the Masai Mara, and then murdered on the orders of high-ranking officials of the former Moi Government.

He said the Moi Government believed Ms Ward was working on behalf of the British authorities spying on the activities of a Moi-backed Masai Mara tribe and that is why she was killed.

Ms Ward vanished in September 1988 as she traveled alone across the Masai Mara at the end of an eight-month trip photographing wildlife.

Later, her father found her charred and dismembered body parts scattered across the game reserve.

The Kenyan authorities initially claimed she was attacked and eaten by wild animals, but after Mr Ward's own dogged investigations, later admitted she had been brutally murdered.

The first British inquest into her death, heard earlier this year at Ipswich, found Ms Ward was unlawfully killed, which sparked the new Kenyan Government to vow it would re-open the case if new evidence came to light. Recently, Mr Ward revealed he had found a “reliable” new witness who claimed a safari park employee, dressed in camouflage clothing and armed with a rifle was sitting next to Ms Ward in her vehicle when she made her last ever known journey.

The witness said the man was in her passenger seat when Ms Ward left the Serena Lodge in her truck as she prepared to make a 50-mile trip back to the Sand River Camp where she had been staying.

It is the last ever known sighting of Julie and previously all witnesses said she left the lodge alone.

Mr Ward says he has other “significant” new leads that he hope to present to the Kenyan Government in the near future.

Lincolnshire police has recently completed a four-year independent review of the original Scotland Yard inquiry into Ms Ward's death.

The Lincolnshire team was called in to follow-up Mr Ward's claims that Scotland Yard, the British Foreign Office and High Commission and the Kenyan authorities had colluded to prevent him finding out the truth about his daughter's death.

It is a claim the Lincolnshire detectives recently said had “substantial” grounds.

The independent report has now been forwarded to the Independent Police Complaints Commission, which is expected to make its findings public in the New Year.

Become a Supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Become a Supporter