Alexander Monson: Kenyan policemen jailed over UK aristocrat’s death

Image source, ReutersImage caption, Alexander Monson moved to Kenya to live with his mother Hilary

A Kenyan court has jailed four police officers for the manslaughter of British aristocrat Alexander Monson, who died in custody after being arrested near Mombasa in 2012.

Judge Eric Ogola ruled that Monson was brutally tortured and had cannabis planted on him after he died.

He said the officers had covered up what happened to the 28 year old.

Monson was the son of Lord Nicholas Monson and heir to the family estate in Lincolnshire.

He had moved to Kenya in 2008 to live with his mother, Hilary Monson.

The four officers were given jail terms of between nine and 15 years but between five and six years were suspended in each case.

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Police arrested him for allegedly smoking cannabis in the Diani beach resort just south of Mombasa in May 2012.

The police initially said Monson had died of a drugs overdose but an inquest in June 2018 found he had died from a head injury.

Toxicology reports showed he had no drugs in his system at the time.

"The drugs were planted on the deceased after his death as a cover up," Judge Ogola said in the Mombasa court, adding that Monson had been in good health prior to his arrival at the station.

He added that those who brutally tortured Monson were known to the four policemen: Naftali Chege, Charles Wangombe Munyiri, Baraka Bulima and John Pamba.

He said the court had not been able to find out who they were because of "the code of silence in the police force."

"I am satisfied that the death of the deceased was caused through unlawful omission on the part of the accused persons for failing to seek medical care for the deceased in good time,"Judge Ogola ruled.

His father, who arrived in Kenya over the weekend, his mother, and several family members were in court for the ruling.

Case exposes slow pace of justice in Kenya

By Mercy Juma, BBC News, Mombasa

Outside the court Hilary Monson told reporters she was "disappointed" by the sentence given to police officers accused of killing her son.

Before the ruling she had made an emotional appeal on behalf of herself and other Kenyan mothers, saying a strong message against police brutality had to be sent. Human rights organisations have documented hundreds of killings over the years by police officers, the majority of which have gone uninvestigated.

This case also exposed once again how hard it can be, and how long it can take, to get justice in Kenyan courts.

The Monson family spent thousands of dollars to get the case this far – resources that many people in this country do not have.

Worryingly this case also highlights a near collapse of trust between the public and the police, those sworn to protect and serve Kenyans are accused of showing fealty to their "code of silence" rather than to justice and truth.

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