Monday, August 26, 2013

We have key leads on slain retired British army colonel, Kenya police say

Friends of the murdered Laikipia rancher David Parkinson at the entrance to his farm at Magutu area, in Daiga division Laikpia county. The deceased was a retired colonel in the British Army Training Unit in Kenya (Batuk). PHOTO/ Muchiri Gitonga

Friends of the murdered Laikipia rancher David Parkinson at the entrance to his farm at Magutu area, in Daiga division Laikpia county. The deceased was a retired colonel in the British Army Training Unit in Kenya (Batuk). PHOTO/ Muchiri Gitonga  NATION MEDIA GROUP

By MUCHIRI GITONGA
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It emerged on Monday that the rancher killed as he slept in Laikipia was a retired colonel of the British Army, as Kenya police reported key leads.

David Parkinson, a 59-year-old Laikipia rancher killed on Sunday morning by a gang, was a retired colonel of the British Army, police said.

Mr Parkinson died from severe bleeding following the raid at his home on Monday morning by a five-member gang armed with a pistol and machetes at Magutu village about 40 kilometres north-east of Nanyuki town.

He was slashed several times on the left hand with a machete. His wife Ms Sonja Parkinson, 52, survived the attack with a cut on her back.

Area police boss Marius Tum said the gang stole Sh300 from Ms Parkinson’s purse, a bottle of champagne, a laptop and a mobile phone.

SUSPECT ARRESTED

He said detectives investigating the murder were pursuing important leads that could lead to the arrest of more suspects. One suspect arrested at a nearby village on Sunday morning is still in police custody.

The family was waiting for the arrival of the couple’s daughters who live in London to witness the post-mortem on the body.

It has emerged that Mr Parkinson retired from British Army Training Unit in Kenya (Batuk) a few years ago and had returned to Kenya where he worked in Nairobi, Lewa Conservancy before joining Loldaiga ranch as the general manager.

He moved to his farm in Magutu area in Daiga division in December last year and was living there with his wife and a local couple that was working for him.

Local residents described the rancher as a very friendly person who was development conscious.

“Since settling here he helped to improve this road all the way to Umande shopping centre which had been in pathetic condition for many years. He was also giving out casual jobs to the local youths. He was a very good man,” Ms Esther Muthoni told journalists at the entrance to the rancher’s farm where she had gone to pay tribute.

However, friends of the family had blocked the gate with vehicles saying the press and other unauthorised people were not welcome.

CUT ON HER BACK

Hooded thugs raided the rancher’s house at around 1am on Sunday where Mr Parkinson and his wife Sonja were sleeping by breaking a glass door using a huge stone.

“One of the gang members was armed with a pistol, another with a machete while the rest had crude weapons. While some of them were terrorising Mr Parkinson, the others tied his wife’s hands with ropes,” Mr Tum said.

However, Ms Parkinson, despite having sustained a cut on her back, managed to untie herself and escaped to a nearby store where she hid until the gang left.

On returning to the main house she found the blood-soaked body of her husband sprawled on the floor, lifeless.

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