Julie Ward 'unlawfully killed'

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The Independent Online

The British tourist Julie Ward was "unlawfully killed" while travelling in Kenya 16 years ago, a coroner said today.

Peter Dean recorded a verdict that Miss Ward, 28, who lived near Bury St Edmunds, Suffolk, was unlawfully killed while travelling in the Masai Mara Game Reserve in 1988.

But Dr Dean said he had heard evidence that the "net was closing" on her killers following new investigations by police in Kenya and Britain and the emergence of the new Kenyan government.

"The net is closing around those responsible for this awful and brutal crime," said Dr Dean following the week-long inquest in Ipswich, Suffolk.

"There is only one proper verdict for me to record and that is one of unlawful killing."

He said a new investigation of the murder in Kenya was the only proper way of achieving justice for Miss Ward and her family.

Dr Dean welcomed statements from the new Kenyan government indicating that the new inquiry was likely.

The coroner said there were people with important evidence to give in Kenya and now was the time for them to come forward.

He added that there was clear evidence of a cover-up by members of the government of the former President Daniel Moi - who was in control when Miss Ward died.

Dr Dean praised Miss Ward's father John, 70, for the tenacity and determination he had shown in trying to reveal the truth during the past 16 years.

The inquest has heard that detectives in Lincolnshire have for the past three years mounted a review of the available evidence and their report was due to be presented to the Independent Police Complaints Commission later this year.

Senior detectives from Lincolnshire told the inquest that they were confident that Miss Ward's killers would be found.