Delamere grandson leaves jail

Friday October 23 2009

Tom Cholmondeley, Delamere's kin, listens as High Court Judge Muga Apondi delivers his verdict. The Judge sentenced him to eight months imprisonment. Photo/ PAUL WAWERU

Tom Cholmondeley, Delamere's kin, listens as High Court Judge Muga Apondi delivers his verdict. The Judge sentenced him to eight months imprisonment. Photo/ PAUL WAWERU 

By CAROLINE RWENJI

Tom Gilbert Cholmondeley, a British aristocrat jailed for the killing of stone mason Robert Njoya has been released from prison.

Cholmondeley was released from the Kamiti Maximum Prison on Friday morning after he was handed a eight-month jail term in May, this year.

His lawyer Mr Fred Ojiambo said that Mr Cholmondeley was received by his family and taken home to Naivasha as a free man.

According to Kenyan prison authorities, inmates who are of good behaviour benefit from a 30 per cent discount on their jail term - a policy which would have made Sunday Mr Cholmondeley's last day in prison.

Clarifying on the term served, Kenya Prisons Service public relations officer Mwakazi Mwanyangwa said the aristocrat's discounted jail term was due to lapse on Sunday after completing his discounted jail term.

Good behaviour

He explained that any prisoner who is of good behaviour while under incarceration get their jail term reduced by one third.

“The one-third remission is accorded to anyone who behaves well while in prison,” he said.

He would have been released on Sunday, but according to Mr Mwanyangwa, the authorities do not release persons on a weekend.

“One is released on the last day before the weekend,” he said.

Prison sources at Kamiti Maximum Prison confirmed that the grandson of Lord Delamere was driven out of their gates to freedom at about 6am on Friday.

Mr Cholmondeley had initially been accused of murder but the judge reduced the charges to manslaughter.

Mr Njoya was shot dead at Cholmondeley's Soysambu ranch in Naivasha on May 10, 2006.

In his judgement, Justice Apondi found that Mr Cholmondeley shot and killed Mr Njoya three years ago, but spared him death by hanging because a murder charge could not be sustained.

No grudge

Justice Apondi further noted that Cholmondeley did not have malice aforethought, meaning he never premeditated the killing as he did not have any grudge against Mr Njoya.

The judge said the trial had subjected Cholmondeley to the due process of law.

"He was arraigned in court for a serious offence without any regard to his wealth, status or race. The above proves beyond doubt that the criminal justice is robust, independent and functioning," he said.

The aristocrat had already spent 3 years at the Kamiti Maximum Prison during the trial period as murder, being a capital offence is a non bailable.