Julie Ward’s father clings on last hope in pursuit of Maasai Mara rapist and killer - Breaking Kenya News


Julie Ward’s father clings on last hope in pursuit of Maasai Mara rapist and killer


Some 33 years after British tourist Julie Ward was killed in Maasai Mara game reserve, her father John Ward is on the last stretch of hope – still hunting for the evasive justice.

The identity of the Maasai Mara rapist and killer, whose hunt has left the British hotelier frustrated, has been complicated by cover-up in both Kenya and UK.

And now,  Mr Ward hopes that with the death of President Moi and his son Jonathan, who was implicated in the murder,  the truth about Julie Ward’s death could finally be known. But, perhaps, not yet.

In an exclusive interview with the Nation, Mr Ward, flanked by his son Bob Ward, said the inquiry is still very much 'live' and that since the death of former President Daniel Toroitich Arap Moi and that of his son Johnathan Toroitich who was adversely accused of the murder, many witnesses have provided more information that could eventually cause the world to ‘know the truth’. 

“There are new witnesses and they have provided statements and produced other compelling documentary evidence.  We have been aware of these people before the deaths of Jonathan Moi and his father President Daniel arap Moi,” Mr Ward told the Nation in an exclusive interview.

“Fear of reprisal by Moi caused these witnesses to keep their silence. They chose to remain silent during a highly publicised Inquest, and two equally highly publicized trials. The fact that their own self-preservation, took precedence over their obligation to justice, and lives of those who they knew were wrongly accused, is a matter for their consciences,” Mr Ward said, adding that a full account of what the witnesses said will be revealed in a forthcoming book and film.

Mr Ward’s pursuit for Justice sounds like another episode of ‘Justice by any means’ only that his search has not only taken toll on him – spending millions of shillings.

The mutilated body of Julie Ward, a wildlife photographer from Bury St Edmunds, who was 28 then, was discovered on Maasai Mara reserve in September 1988, after her father flew into Kenya to search for her, days after she disappeared.

'Devoured by animals'

Julie’s car, a Suzuki Jeep, got mechanical problems in Maasai Mara  and her companion, Australian friend, Dr. Glen Burns, left  her at the Mara Serena lodge. After the vehicle was repaired on 6 September, Julie Ward left for the nearby Sand River camp to recover some camping equipment and was never seen alive again.

Her father then flew to Kenya and Julie’s jeep was found – and later, her body. Initial investigations had “concluded” that she had been devoured by animals but later inquiries by a British pathologist– after her father pushed for facts - revealed that the tourist was raped, murdered and part of her body burnt with petrol.

In July 1998, Simon Ole Makallah, the then chief park warden at the time of the murder, was arrested but acquitted for lack of evidence. Efforts by Mr Ward to get DNA samples from one of the people mentioned by key witnesses failed.

And now, the Ward family insists that the investigation was bungled by a cover-up that transcends governments and regimes.  But the family is hopeful that the murder remains ‘eminently solvable’ despite them believing that “the Kenya Judicial System is broken. It simply does not serve the people - or anyone else.”

“Regular meetings are being held and to evaluate new evidence, review progress, and to discuss action,” Mr Ward said.

Mr Ward said the Kenyan Government of President Kibaki issued a formal statement to the 2004 UK Inquest Court, admitting their role in the cover up, and blaming it on the previous government of President Moi.  

“Subsequently, the same Minister, again speaking on behalf of the Kenyan Government, enlarged on the first statement, by stating that there had been a conspiracy between the Kenyans and the British, to pervert the course of justice,” Mr Ward told the Nation, saying that were it not for the cover up, orchestrated by the governments, the murder could and should have been solved within the first two weeks.

Mr Ward- a retired hotelier who used a large part of his savings- over Sh200million on investigation and made more than 200 trips to the Maasai Mara to bring his daughter’s killers to justice, said  the death of the Mois has sparked a deluge of fresh evidence.

Julie Ward

British tourist Julie Ward (centre) who was killed in Maasai Mara Game Reserve 33 years ago. 


The Ward family declined to reveal the contents of the revelations and what they intend to do with the new information, but said that they were reaching out for an international response, since he says that it will be unlikely that the Kenyan and British Governments would offer an objective honest response.

“All information and evidence we gather is shared with the police. Scotland Yard have deliberately withheld evidence from Kenya Police. Both police forces are not independent, but under the direct control of their respective governments,” Mr Ward said.

On September 11, 2018, Mr Ward says, he and his son, Bob, held a long meeting in Nairobi with Attorney General Paul Kariuki and Director of Public Prosecutions, Noordin Haji.

“We had been informed that both men represented the new and independent face of Kenyan law. We discussed the case at length and we passed on our latest information, together with all that had happened in the past - and what needed to happen in the future.

“Both said they would seek instructions from their government and State House. They moved quickly. That afternoon we received requests from their assistants, asking us to provide certain confirmations. We responded with equal speed. We have not heard one word from Mr Kariuki or Mr Haji since that meeting and there had certainly been no action,” Mr Ward said.

Mr Ward now accuses Kenya and the UK governments of cover-up and giving instructions to security agencies on how to cover up the murder probe, attributing it to the “stature of those directly involved."

Independent investigation caused by the cover-up, and a libel case against the publishers of a Kenyan newspaper and a lawyer - he says have cost the family great deal.  

Much loved daughter

Mr Ward said that the loss of “a much loved daughter” in such a brutal and horrific manner caused anger, frustration and dismay.

“It is not possible to minimise the human damage it has had on me and my family, especially my wife Jan - and still does to this day.   It is even more frustrating that our private investigation has shown who the murderer was and how and where the crime was committed,” he said.

Although Mr Ward faced lots of frustrations in his quest for justice, he admits that the weirdest thing that still sticks out – 33 years on - is the Kenyan Chief Government’s pathologist’s altering of another doctor's postmortem report, to try and make the murder appear like Julie Ward had been mauled by wild animals in the Mara.

“This was followed by two British government MI6 employees, who tried to convince me that Julie had not been murdered, but struck by lightning” Mr Ward said, adding that apart from that, two men who had been arrested after the incident  were almost hung, yet the government knew the truth.

At the moment, the family is working on a book and film which, it says, will have a profound effect internationally and encourage other people to come forward and expose and humiliate those who have perverted the cause of justice. The book and film, which have been delayed by the prevalent Covid-19 pandemic, they say, will be out soon.

“The focus of the book is to tell the truth - noting more - nothing less. It will name those guilty of perverting the course of justice, regardless of whether they are Kenyan or British. Detailed proof is provided in every respect. The manuscript is certainly not only critical of the Kenyan Government - the British Government bear equal guilt.

“I hope it will also demonstrate my huge respect for the Kenyan people, who have given me encouragement and friendship throughout our ordeal and the support of the Media, who provide a vital role in exposing corruption,” Mr Ward said, concluding that truth has a habit of forcing its way to the surface.   BY DAILY NATION  

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