Four Kenyan policemen have been found guilty of manslaughter over the death of a British aristocrat’s son who died in their custody in 2012.
Naftali Chege, Charles Wangombe Munyiri, Baraka Bulima and John Pamba were convicted Monday of killing Alexander Monson, 28, at a police station in Mombasa almost a decade ago.
Alexander, son of Nicholas the 12th Baron Monson, had been arrested in the early hours of May 19 for smoking cannabis while on a night out in the resort town of Diani.
He was in ‘good health’ as police took him away, but officers phoned his father later the same day to tell him that Alexander had died – ostensibly of a drug overdose.
That sparked a years-long fight by the Monsons to find out who was responsible for Alexander’s death and bring them to justice, which now appears near its end.
Alexander Monson (pictured right with mother Hilary and sister Isabella in 2007) died in police custody in Kenya in 2012. Four officers have now been found guilty of his manslaughter
Kenyan High Court judge Eric Ogola issued the guilty verdict at Mombasa court today, accusing police of a ‘cover-up’ of Alexander’s death.
‘Drugs were planted on the deceased after his death as a cover up,’ said Ogola, adding that Monson was in perfect health prior to his arrival at the station and that he was ‘brutally tortured’ while there.
Alexander, born to Baron Monson while he worked as a journalist for The Times in 1987, attended school at the elite Marlborough College and later won a scholarship to study at Chelsea Art College.
After graduation he decamped to Kenya, where sister Isabella was already making a living as an advertising copywriter.
His mother had given him some land where he planned to cultivate a commercial bamboo plantation, and he quickly made a group of local friends.
It was this friend group he was socialising with on the morning of May 19, 2012, at a beach-front property in Diani when he was arrested by police.
Dragged to a custody suite in Mombasa, Alexander died several hours later of what officers claimed was an overdose.
But father Nicholas refused to believe it, pushing for an inquest into the death which began in 2015 and concluded – three years later – that Alexander had died as a result of a beating.
Alexander had ‘severe bruising’ around his groin which suggested he had been kicked, while another blow to his head caused massive internal bleeding which proved fatal.
Senior Principal Magistrate Richard Odenyo ruled: ‘His [Alexander’s] death was not natural, neither was it due to drugs.
‘His life was cut short by police and therefore, the director of public prosecution should prosecute the officers mentioned.’
In January 2019 the officers were put on trial for murder. But the trial was adjourned in March last year at the end of the prosecution case.
Daniel Wamosta, lawyer for the police officers called for the case to be struck out claiming there was no case to answer against them.
Mrs Wamosta told the court: ‘It is our humble submission that the prosecution has not established a case for the accused to answer the murder charge.’
However, in March this year a judge ruled the trial will continue and the officers must present a defence.
They were found guilty on November 15, but have yet to be sentenced. It is unclear if any of the four will appeal.
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