British gorilla expert Dr Ymke Warren murdered in Cameroon after chef she sacked hired a hitman

Inquest in Westminster hears how the unruly member of conservation site staff bore a grudge after he was fired for getting into fights and having an affair with a volunteer

A British gorilla expert was killed at her home in Cameroon after a chef she had sacked hired an assassin for £5,000, an inquest heard.

World-renowned scientist Dr Ymke Warren, 40, had been living in the country for seven years studying the world’s largest primates at a conservation site.

One of the employees at the reserve was a cook called Timbu Collins, who Dr Warren fired because he kept getting into fights and had an affair with an American volunteer.

Bearing a grudge, Mr Collins paid a gang of criminals to kill her.

Westminster Coroner’s Court heard how Dr Warren’s boyfriend Aaron Nicholas, who attended the inquest, returned to their home just after 8am to find her lying in a pool of blood with her hands bound and her throat slit, the Telegraph reported.

Assistant coroner Dr Shirley Radcliffe said it was most likely the killer had hidden in the attic while he waited for Mr Nicholas to leave for work, before tying up and gagging Dr Warren.

The inquest also heard how the couple’s housemaid, Priscilla, had arrived at the home to find the expert and her assailant before the fatal blow was dealt.

Priscilla told police how Dr Warren accused the assassin of being a thief, to which he replied: “You are tough, now you are going to see,” before kicking her legs away from underneath her and slitting her throat.

On Mr Nicholas’s return the attacker, who had not yet fled, tried to accost him as well. The 44-year-old was able to escape and get help, and though Dr Warren was then still alive, she later died in hospital.

Three members of the gang which arranged the killing were arrested and jailed by Cameroon police, but two remain on the loose and no one has ever been able to track down the chef, Mr Collins.

After the inquest Mr Nicholas, who works in Britain for the Born Free conservation project, paid tribute to Dr Warren.

He told the Telegraph her unceasing passion “was the spark that brought us together”. He added: “We really want one last push to bring these people to justice.”

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Web Developer - Junior / Mid Weight

£15000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: To support their continued grow...

Recruitment Genius: Marketing Data Specialist

£22000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: They are the go-to company for ...

Recruitment Genius: Search Marketing Specialist - PPC / SEO

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: This is an opportunity to join the UK's leadin...

Recruitment Genius: Sales Administrator

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: This caravan dealership are currently recruiti...

Day In a Page

Is this the future of flying: battery-powered planes made of plastic, and without flight decks?

Is this the future of flying?

Battery-powered planes made of plastic, and without flight decks
Isis are barbarians – but the Caliphate is a dream at the heart of all Muslim traditions

Isis are barbarians

but the Caliphate is an ancient Muslim ideal
The Brink's-Mat curse strikes again: three tons of stolen gold that brought only grief

Curse of Brink's Mat strikes again

Death of John 'Goldfinger' Palmer the latest killing related to 1983 heist
Greece debt crisis: 'The ministers talk to us about miracles' – why Greeks are cynical ahead of the bailout referendum

'The ministers talk to us about miracles'

Why Greeks are cynical ahead of the bailout referendum
Call of the wild: How science is learning to decode the way animals communicate

Call of the wild

How science is learning to decode the way animals communicate
Greece debt crisis: What happened to democracy when it’s a case of 'Vote Yes or else'?

'The economic collapse has happened. What is at risk now is democracy...'

If it doesn’t work in Europe, how is it supposed to work in India or the Middle East, asks Robert Fisk
The science of swearing: What lies behind the use of four-letter words?

The science of swearing

What lies behind the use of four-letter words?
The Real Stories of Migrant Britain: Clive fled from Zimbabwe - now it won't have him back

The Real Stories of Migrant Britain

Clive fled from Zimbabwe - now it won’t have him back
Africa on the menu: Three foodie friends want to popularise dishes from the continent

Africa on the menu

Three foodie friends want to popularise dishes from the hot new continent
Donna Karan is stepping down after 30 years - so who will fill the DKNY creator's boots?

Who will fill Donna Karan's boots?

The designer is stepping down as Chief Designer of DKNY after 30 years. Alexander Fury looks back at the career of 'America's Chanel'
10 best statement lightbulbs

10 best statement lightbulbs

Dare to bare with some out-of-the-ordinary illumination
Wimbledon 2015: Heather Watson - 'I had Serena's poster on my wall – now I'm playing her'

Heather Watson: 'I had Serena's poster on my wall – now I'm playing her'

Briton pumped up for dream meeting with world No 1
Wimbledon 2015: Nick Bollettieri - It's time for big John Isner to produce the goods to go with his thumping serve

Nick Bollettieri's Wimbledon Files

It's time for big John Isner to produce the goods to go with his thumping serve
Dustin Brown: Who is the tennis player who knocked Rafael Nadal out of Wimbeldon 2015?

Dustin Brown

Who is the German player that knocked Nadal out of Wimbeldon 2015?
Ashes 2015: Damien Martyn - 'England are fired up again, just like in 2005...'

Damien Martyn: 'England are fired up again, just like in 2005...'

Australian veteran of that Ashes series, believes the hosts' may become unstoppable if they win the first Test