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Friday, October 23, 1998 Published at 18:58 GMT 19:58 UK


Safari murder suspect says 'I'm very innocent'

Julie Ward was killed while on a safari holiday in Kenya

A former game park warden accused of killing British tourist Julie Ward 10 years ago in a wildlife reserve told a Kenyan court on Friday that he was "very innocent".

[ image: Simon Ole Makallah:
Simon Ole Makallah: "I'm very innocent"
Simon Ole Makallah pleaded not guilty to the charge on the first day of a trial in Nairobi's high court.

The trial is expected to run for months.

Julie Ward's burned and hacked remains were found in a remote corner of the Masai Mara game reserve in September 1988.

Her father John refused to believe initial police reports that his 28-year-old daughter had been mauled by lions.

Prosecution lawyer Momanyi Bw'nwonga told the court he would be calling 43 witnesses, some of them from overseas.

Mr Makallah, who was head warden of the game reserve at the time of the murder, said he would be calling five witnesses for the defence.

Hunt for the truth

John Ward, a Suffolk hotelier, spent hundreds of thousands of pounds funding investigations into his daughter's death.

In 1992 two junior Masai Mara wardens were acquitted of her murder.

But Mr Ward said Mr Makallah was his chief suspect "from the first day I saw him".

Judge Onyango Otieno adjourned the proceedings until Wednesday, when the date for a full hearing is expected to be fixed.

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