Inquiry into police handling of Julie Ward case

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The Independent Online

A man who financed a 13-year search after his daughter was killed in a Kenyan game reserve has won an official inquiry into the police investigation of her death.

Julie Ward, 28, was murdered in a Kenyan game park in 1988. Her father, John, said yesterday that he hoped the inquiry, which will be supervised by the Police Complaints Authority, would cast fresh light on the unsolved case.

Mr Ward, of Brockley Green, Suffolk, said that he had prompted the fresh investigation by complaining to New Scotland Yard that the Foreign Office was unable to answer questions he had put to them about his daughter's death.

The hotelier believes advances in DNA technology and information he uncovered during his quest for information could solve the murder.

He said: "I am hoping this segment of the investigation will get me a few more answers to questions. The truth will come out. There have been considerable strides forward in areas like forensic investigation between 1988 and now, and those areas will be re-examined."

Samples stored since Miss Ward's death could be used for DNA checks, Mr Ward said, adding that he had compiled hundreds of files of information about the murder.

He has spent more than £500,000 and travelled to Kenya more than 100 times since the death and was to travel to the country again today in his latest attempt to discover more about his daughter's fate.

Ward, of Bury St Edmunds, in Suffolk, went missing in the Masai Mara national reserve in 1988 during a wildlife photography trip. Her jeep was found a week later with SOS written in mud on its roof. Her dismembered and charred remains were discovered in the next few weeks.

Kenyan authorities originally claimed she was killed by animals but police now believe she was held captive and possibly sexually attacked before she was killed.

Two Masai Mara park rangers, Peter Kipeen and Jonah Magiroi, stood trial for Ward's murder in 1992 after recommendations by Scotland Yard officers. The chief game warden at the reserve, Simon Ole Makallah, was also tried for the killing seven years later. All three were acquitted.

The judge in Mr Makallah's Nairobi High Court trial said "unknown agents" had caused Ward's death.

The new inquiry will concentrate on the investigation carried out by Scotland Yard officers in Kenya in 1989. Mr Ward denied reports that he had complained about Scotland Yard's handling of the case. He said detectives had agreed to look at their original investigation, done in 1989, and had decided that it should be studied by an independent police authority.

Lincolnshire Police have been called in to review the investigation and the two forces have agreed that they should involve the Police Complaints Authority, Mr Ward said.

"The PCA involvement is the formal framework to keep all this moving. Even after 13 years there is still so much information coming to light. At the end of the day my daughter has been murdered and there is no more serious crime."

Mr Ward said he had been given no idea of a possible timescale for the new inquiry, but added he thought it would be "fairly lengthy".

A PCA spokesman said it had agreed to supervise the investigation, which would be led by Lincolnshire Police and the force's Assistant Chief Constable, Jonathan Stoddart.

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