Read the official Ward murder cover up report

THE FATHER of murdered Suffolk adventurer Julie Ward last night said it was possible Foreign Office staff knew the identity of his daughter's killer.

Will Clarke

THE FATHER of murdered Suffolk adventurer Julie Ward last night said it was possible Foreign Office staff knew the identity of his daughter's killer.

John Ward, 74, who has been tireless in his campaign for justice since Julie's butchered remains were found in Kenya's Masai Mara game reserve 20 years ago, is now hopeful British officials will be prosecuted for obstructing the investigation into his daughter's brutal death.

Mr Ward believes his daughter's murder in 1988 is now “imminently solvable” - with three or four chief suspects in the frame - and has said Scotland Yard should investigate damning claims against British diplomats made in an independent police report.

The retired hotelier claims that Kenyan and British officials colluded in a bid to block the investigation - including telling him that his daughter had been “struck by lightening” while on safari.

Mr Ward's claims of a cover up have been backed up by the lengthy independent report completed in 2004, which he made public at the weekend following a freedom of information request.

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The 2004 report penned by Jon Stoddart, who was then with Lincolnshire police and is now chief constable with Durham police, states UK officials were responsible for “inconsistency and contradictions, falsehoods and downright lies”.

Mr Ward said he was “not surprised” at the findings, which he said were in turn kept from publication by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office on grounds of national security.

He said: “If you or I set out to pervert the course of justice it is a criminal offence and it is no less one when it is perpetrated by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO). So I think probably there should be prosecutions but whether there will be is another question.

“There are two sides of this case, one is with the FCO and then there is the crime scene in Kenya. I cannot exclude the possibility that someone in the FCO knows who did it.

“I cannot believe anybody is going to help the Kenyans to help cover up a matter without knowing why. On the Kenyan side it went all the way up to the top and on the British side I believe it went up to a pretty senior level.”

The report accused the Kenyan police, who initially insisted Miss Ward committed suicide or was killed by wild animals, of “brazen, deceitful and dishonest behaviour”. And it was also highly critical of two Scotland Yard officers whose initial inquiry led to the acquittal of two park rangers following a trial in 1992.

Mr Ward said he was now considering following Assistant Commissioner John Yates, fresh investigation to Kenya in six weeks time but beyond that he had no concrete plans.

He added: “My only objective is to get to the bottom of all this. There are people in the FCO who know why they did what they did and that should be addressed.”

A spokesman for the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) said: “We deeply regret that nobody has been brought to justice. We strongly refute allegations of a cover-up.”

A spokesman for Scotland Yard said: “The outcome of that (the Stoddart) investigation was that they found no criminal conspiracy involving the Metropolitan Police. The Met is still engaged in investigating Julie Ward's murder and we are working closely with her father to seek justice.”