Tourist Julie unlawfully killed

SUFFOLK tourist Julie Ward was "unlawfully killed" while travelling in Kenya 16 years ago, a coroner said today.Peter Dean recorded a verdict that Miss Ward, 28, who lived near Bury St Edmunds, Suffolk, was unlawfully killed while travelling in the Masai Mara Game Reserve in 1988.

FRESH hopes are alive today that the killers of Suffolk tourist Julie Ward could be brought to justice.

An inquest into the murder of Miss Ward, who was killed while travelling in Kenya 16 years ago, yesterday recorded a verdict of unlawfully killing.

Greater Suffolk coroner Dr Peter Dean recorded a verdict that Miss Ward, 28, who lived near Bury St Edmunds, Suffolk, was unlawfully killed while travelling in the Masai Mara Game Reserve in 1988.

But Dr Dean said he had heard evidence that the "net was closing' on her killers following new investigations by police in Kenya and Britain and the emergence of the new Kenyan Government.

The verdict was immediately welcomed by Miss Ward's father, 70-year-old hotelier John Ward, who has mounted a long campaign to expose the truth about her death.

Mr Ward, 70, who lives near Bury St Edmunds said it was down to the new Kenyan regime which came into power in 2002 that a new investigation can be opened.

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He said: "The verdict wasn't unexpected but I am relieved of course that the whole investigation is going to be re-opened and I think the Kenyans will do a good job this time.

"It is very important because it will eventually get to the bottom of it all."

He added that the new investigation wouldn't have happened without the new Kenyan government's support.

Earlier today he told how he had interviewed a senior Kenyan politician who claimed to be an eyewitness to the murder of his daughter.

Valentine Kadepo gave detailed information to Mr Ward that later turned out to be a fraud the court in Ipswich heard.

After a failed murder trial in Kenya in 1992 Mr Ward, 70, was contacted by Mr Kadepo in March 1993 claiming he had information about Miss Ward's death.

"He claimed three Kenyan VIPs close to the Kenyan Government were involved in the murder.

"The following day Kenyan Special Branch raided Mr Kadepo's house but he was able to escape and fled to Uganda, he then sought political asylum in Denmark and gave interviews to major news channels and to the Mail on Sunday", Mr Ward said.

But holes began to appear in the politician's story.

When Mr Ward, who lives near Bury St Edmunds, confronted him about it, Mr Kadepo claimed he had a letter from an important person in Kenya supporting his story, but after an investigation Mr Ward said he found out that the letter had been written by Mr Kadepo himself.

Rumours circulating around Kenyan journalists already hint that the inquest may lead to arrests in Kenya.

Miss Ward, who lived near Bury St Edmunds, was butchered while travelling in the Masai Mara game reserve in Kenya in 1988 and her killers have never been brought to justice.

Mr Ward stood firm against the Kenyan government of the then president Daniel Arap Moi, which originally claimed Miss Ward had been eaten by animals, struck by lightning or had committed suicide.

Evidence gathered by her father showed that her body had been dismembered with a sharp heavy instrument and scattered round the African bush.

After finding her remains, he has personally collected evidence, organised forensic tests and spent nearly £1 million on trips to Kenya to gather new clues.

Two trials have been held in Kenya, but the suspects were acquitted through lack of evidence.

Mr Ward complained that the Foreign Office and Metropolitan Police, who travelled to Kenya to investigate on a number of occasions, colluded with the Moi regime to prevent his daughter's killers being found.

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