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Last Updated: Wednesday, 24 May 2006, 14:35 GMT 15:35 UK
Aristocrat denies Kenyan murder
Thomas Cholmondeley
Thomas Cholmondeley is heir to a 100,000-acre Rift Valley farm
An aristocrat in Kenya has pleaded not guilty to murdering a man he suspected of poaching on his farm.

It is the second murder charge Thomas Cholmondeley, great-grandson of one of Kenya's first white settlers, Lord Delamere, has faced in a year.

He admitted shooting a Maasai ranger but denied murder last year. The case was dropped, sparking national outrage.

Mr Cholmondeley's lawyer told the court his client in this case was aiming at dogs released by the alleged poacher.

Fred Ojiambo said his client understood the case had revived memories of colonialism, but it had no relevance in this case, the Associated Press news agency reports.

"In this case the lies are being orchestrated to make him look like the guy who shoots Africans for sport," he said.

Mr Cholmondeley, 38, appeared handcuffed in the High Court. He sat impassively with his eyes lowered while waiting for proceedings to start, the BBC's Adam Mynott at the court said.

Four of his friends were in court. His father, the fifth Baron Delamere and his mother Lady Delamere were understood to be in Britain.

When asked if it was true he had murdered Robert Njoya on 10 May at Soysambu farm, Mr Cholmondeley replied: "Not true".

The judge ruled that the case should come for trial at the end of September. Mr Cholmondeley, a Kenyan citizen, was led away and will be detained in custody to await trial.

'Self-defence'

Correspondents say this case is likely to spark more controversy in the central Rift Valley where resentment still rankles with the region's Maasai community over the dropping of the last case.

Thomas Cholmondeley and a friend were arrested earlier this month after he phoned the police to tell them about the incident.

He told police that the man had three companions and a pack of dogs and he suspected them of poaching a gazelle.

He said he shot at the group after they set his dogs on him, hitting the man, who died later on the way to hospital, and killing two dogs.

Last year, Mr Cholmondeley admitted shooting Maasai ranger Samson Ole Sisina, but said he acted in self defence mistaking the warden for an armed robber.

That case highlighted the security fears of landowners and the resentment of the local Maasai population in the Rift Valley region.

Mr Cholmondeley is heir to a massive 100,000-acre farm in the Rift Valley region, acquired by his great-grandfather.


SEE ALSO:
Country profile: Kenya
09 Apr 05 |  Country profiles



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