Briton dies in Kenya balcony fall


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The Independent Online

A British man has died after he fell from a balcony following an apparent robbery by car thieves at the home of his girlfriend - one of Kenya's top fashion models.

Charlie Grieves-Cook, 37, was fatally injured after he plunged several stories from Diana Sifuna's apartment, British expats said.

Moments earlier, the photographer had fled for the balcony as armed men stormed into the building looking for the "musungu" (white man) in a bid to steal his vehicle.

Mr Grieves-Cook is understood to have attempted to hide from the intruders by climbing over the balcony and clinging on to its railings.

Unable to find him, the men left the building.

But before Mr Grieves-Cook could clamber back inside, he lost his grip and plummeted to the ground.

Miss Sifuna, 24, is believed to have taken him to a local hospital, close to her home in South C, a district in Nairobi's western suburb of Langata which is known for its high-crime levels.

Britons living in Kenya said Mr Grieves-Cook was well-known in the close-knit community and described as a "really nice guy".

One expat, who asked not to be named, said: "The apartment was in quite a dodgy area. Apparently he had been there when these guys burst into the building and said, 'we are looking for the musungu'.

"Before they got up to her flat, the two of them, who were inside, panicked and he decided that he would hide by climbing over the balcony so they couldn't find him.

"They came storming through the house - apparently what they were trying to do was steal his car.

"We've been told they were car-jackers and he had the nicest car.

"They were looking for the 'white guy's car'."

Mr Grieves-Cook, reportedly a former chef at several of London's Michelin-starred restaurants, was taken to the local hospital by his distressed girlfriend.

But medics apparently refused to treat him because the couple had no money on them with which to pay for the care.

"They literally ran out of time and he died of his injuries," another Briton said.

According to reports, guards at the apartment block allowed the gunmen to enter the building because they believed the men were attending a party held by one of Ms Sifuna's neighbours.

The model was reportedly questioned by police as a witness after Mr Grieves-Cook's death on Saturday night.

She was not under suspicion of criminal involvement in the incident.

Today friends paid tribute to her partner as a memorial service was held in the garden of Nairobi's Muthaiga Country Club.

Dozens of friends and fans left messages of condolence on Facebook.

Nicola Potgieter wrote: "My sincere condolences to Jake and Sian - to lose your son who was also so gifted and to all the close friends and family. What a talent."

Gonda Geets added: "He was a great photographer and a fun person to work with. He will be missed by many. May his soul rest in peace and justice prevail."

Others commended his "remarkable talent".

Millie Seagon wrote: "So sad that we never met, but you have taken some incredible photos for us in the last few years so your memory will live on. My sincere condolences to your family, what terrible sadness."

Mr Grieves-Cook, son of the former head of the Kenya Tourist Board, Jake Grieves-Cook, was raised in Kenya and educated in the UK.

A Foreign Office spokesman said: "We are looking into reports of the death of a British national in Kenya. We stand ready to provide consular assistance."