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Last Updated: Wednesday, 27 September 2006, 20:10 GMT 21:10 UK
Aristocrat 'treated shot poacher'
Thomas Cholmondeley in court in Nairobi
Old Etonian Mr Cholmondeley could face the death penalty if convicted
The trial of an aristocrat who shot and killed a Kenyan poacher has heard he rushed the dying man to hospital.

Thomas Cholmondeley, 38, great-grandson of one of Kenya's first white settlers, Lord Delamere, denies the murder of 37-year-old stonemason Robert Njoya.

Karl Tundo told the court he had been walking behind Mr Cholmondeley through dense bush when he heard several shots.

He said Mr Cholmondeley had then asked him to fetch their car so the wounded man could be taken for treatment.

Mr Tundo said Mr Cholmondeley had carried a rifle because of a threat of buffalo on the 100,000-acre estate.

The Kenyan businessman also described how they had been looking for land on which to build a house on the estate, owned by the Cholmondeley family.

Tom shouted at me to go and get the car because he had hit someone by mistake
Karl Tundo

He said he had been walking through dense bush, a few metres behind the defendant, when he had heard voices and then three or four shots in quick succession.

Mr Tundo said his initial reaction had been to run but then, he had said: "Tom shouted at me to go and get the car because he had hit someone by mistake."

He told the Nairobi court Thomas Cholmondeley had been treating the injured man, who had been bleeding from his buttocks.

He had then lifted him into the car and had said they had to rush him to hospital.

Carrying spear

Mr Tundo said he had been detained by the police for three days and nights while they had carried out their enquiries.

Prosecution witness Peter Gichuhi was among poachers accompanying Mr Njoya.

But on Tuesday he admitted he had lied under oath to the court when he said he had not been carrying a spear.

Mr Cholmondeley's lawyer Fred Ojiambo told the court there had been five poachers - two more than the prosecution alleges - well armed with machetes and spears.

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Mr Gichuhi told the court he had been part of a gang that had raided the estate at least twice every week to poach from the teeming wildlife.

"We knew it was not lawful... we were looking for something to eat," he added.

The trial took a dramatic twist when the defence counsel accused Mr Tundo of carrying an unlicensed pistol, of failing to report it to police and using it to kill a dog.

Mr Tundo told the prosecution that close to the scene were the bodies of two dogs shot by Mr Cholmondeley and an antelope.

Mr Ojiambo asked Mr Tundo why he had concealed from police that he knew about the body of a third dog.

Mr Ojiambo then said to Mr Tundo: "I put it to you that you were carrying a pistol and you fired three shots at the third dog which was wounded".

BBC East Africa correspondent Adam Mynott says the implication was that the fatal shot which killed the poacher may have possibly come from the pistol of Mr Tundo and not the rifle of Mr Cholmondeley.

But Mr Tondo denied repeatedly that he'd been carrying a gun.

It is the second murder charge divorced father-of-two Mr Cholmondeley has faced.

Last year, he 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.

Correspondents say this case is likely to spark more controversy in the area, where resentment still rankles with the Maasai over the dropping of the last case.

Old Etonian Mr Cholmondeley could face the death penalty if convicted.

The case continues.




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



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