Heir takes on 'Flash' in Kenya murder trial

The killing of a poacher has split the white elite – and reawakened colonial tensions

For more than two years the Rt€Hon Thomas Cholmondeley, son and sole heir to the fifth Baron Delamere, has been languishing in Nairobi's Kamiti maximum-security prison, sharing a damp and squalid cell with the odd rat.

Accused of shooting and killing a poacher trespassing on his family's 56,000-acre Rift Valley estate, he has been waiting for the moment when he could give his version of events. Last week he finally got his chance – and his evidence pointed the finger at another high-profile member of Kenya's white elite, Carl Tundo, a rally driver known as "Flash". A trial that threatens to reopen Kenya's still-raw colonial wounds has seen members of the country's white community turn on each other.

Cholmondeley had originally admitted to shooting Robert Njoya, a 37-year-old stonemason, whom the two men had found poaching on his land. But in court the Old Etonian changed his story. Both he and Tundo had been carrying guns, Cholmondeley alleged, when they discovered Njoya and his friends on the estate. Cholmondeley admitted shooting at the poachers' dogs but said he wasn't the one who shot Njoya. Instead, he suggested, it could have been Tundo.

The rally driver's friends call the allegation "ludicrous". They have become increasingly frustrated at the allegations made against him in court and in the media. Cholmondeley and his girlfriend, Sally Dudmesh, have been the subject of a succession of soft-focus features in the British and American press suggesting that "Flash" is the guilty party.

The two men were acquaintances rather than friends, something which Tundo's allies have said makes a nonsense of Cholmondeley's claim that he only admitted to shooting Njoya to cover for his companion. "Tom didn't even know Flash that well – why would he take the fall for him?" said a friend.

Both men have supporters among Kenya's 30,000-strong white population, but most just want the whole thing to end quickly and quietly. While few white families still own large tracts of land, they retain a life of relative luxury. The younger generation are known as "Kenya cowboys" and have a reputation for raucous parties, champagne-fuelled safaris and drunken weekends at luxury Indian Ocean mansions.

Cholmondeley is the scion of the most famous white settler, the third Lord Delamere, the man who "discovered" Kenya in 1901. More than a century on, the Delamere family are still the largest white landowners in the country. Many Masai in the Rift Valley, whose ancestors once inhabited the Delamere domain, want their land back, and the last thing the settler class needs is another reminder of the bad old days.

The infamous Happy Valley trial of 1941 revealed the gin-drinking, wife-swapping lives of Kenya's whites. Sir Jock Delves Broughton was acquitted of murdering his wife's lover, the 22nd Earl of Erroll, but later killed himself. His widow, Diana, then married the fourth Baron Delamere, Cholmondeley's grandfather. The trial was immortalised in the James Fox novel White Mischief, which later became a film, reinforcing Kenya's image as a playground for aristocratic wastrels.

Of greater consequence for Cholmondeley, though, is that this is not the first time he has been accused of murder. In 2005 he was held on suspicion of having killed an undercover game warden, Samson Ole Sisina. Although charges were withdrawn due to lack of evidence, this sparked demonstrations and unrest in Nairobi and the Rift Valley. There is more at stake in his latest trial than simple fodder for the gossip columns.

News
news

Emergency call 'started off dumb, but got pretty serious'

News
people

Britain First criticised for using actress's memory to draw attention to their 'hate-filled home page'

Arts and Entertainment
Liam and Zayn of One Direction play with a chimpanzee on the set of their new video for 'Steal My Girl'
music

Animal welfare charities have urged the boy band to cut the scenes

News
Russell Brand was in typically combative form during his promotional interview with Newsnight's Evan Davis
people

Thought you'd seen it all after the Jeremy Paxman interview?

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Arts and Entertainment
On The Apprentice, “serious” left the room many moons ago and yet still we watch
tv

Greatest mystery about the hit BBC1 show is how it continues to be made at all, writes Grace Dent

Voices
Funds raised from the sale of poppies help the members of the armed forces with financial difficulties
voicesLindsey German: The best way of protecting soldiers is to stop sending them into conflicts
Arts and Entertainment
A scene from David Ayer's 'Fury'
film

"History is violent," says the US Army tank commander Don "Wardaddy" Collier

News
The Edge and his wife, Morleigh Steinberg, at the Academy Awards in 2014
peopleGuitarist faces protests over plan to build mansions in Malibu
News
peopleFox presenter gives her less than favourable view of women in politics
Property
One bedroom terraced house for sale, Richmond Avenue, Islington, London N1. On with Winkworths for £275,000.
property
Sport
Erik Lamela celebrates his goal
football

Argentinian scored 'rabona' wonder goal for Tottenham in Europa League – see it here

Voices
Nigel Farage has backed DJ Mike Read's new Ukip song
voicesNigel Farage: Where is the Left’s outrage over the sexual abuse of girls in the North of England?
News
i100
News
Mario Balotelli has been accused of 'threateningly' telling a woman to stop photographing his Ferrari
peoplePolice investigate claim Balotelli acted 'threateningly' towards a woman photographing his Ferrari
Arts and Entertainment
Paul Anderson plays Arthur Shelby in Peaky Blinders series two
tvReview: Arthur Shelby Jr seems to be losing his mind as his younger brother lets him run riot in London
Voices
Don’t try this at home: DIY has now fallen out of favour
voicesNick Harding, who never did know his awl from his elbow, is glad to see the back of it
Arts and Entertainment
Miranda Hart has called time on her award-winning BBC sitcom, Miranda
tv
Sport
Phil Jones (left) attempts to stop the progress of West Bromwich Albion’s James Morrison on Monday
Chelsea test can be the making of Jones and Rojo, writes Paul Scholes
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

DT Teacher - Resistant Materials

£4800 - £33600 per annum: Randstad Education Manchester Secondary: A full time...

IT Systems Business Analyst - Watford - £28k + bonus + benefits

£24000 - £28000 per annum + bonus & benefits: Ashdown Group: IT Business Syste...

SENCO

£21000 - £36000 per annum: Randstad Education Chelmsford: SENCO - Benfleet - J...

Do you want to work in Education?

£55 - £65 per day: Randstad Education Cheshire: Are you looking to work in Edu...

Day In a Page

Wilko Johnson, now the bad news: musician splits with manager after police investigate assault claims

Wilko Johnson, now the bad news

Former Dr Feelgood splits with manager after police investigate assault claims
Mark Udall: The Democrat Senator with a fight on his hands ahead of the US midterm elections

Mark Udall: The Democrat Senator with a fight on his hands

The Senator for Colorado is for gay rights, for abortion rights – and in the Republicans’ sights as they threaten to take control of the Senate next month
New discoveries show more contact between far-flung prehistoric humans than had been thought

New discoveries show more contact between far-flung prehistoric humans than had been thought

Evidence found of contact between Easter Islanders and South America
Cerys Matthews reveals how her uncle taped 150 interviews for a biography of Dylan Thomas

Cerys Matthews on Dylan Thomas

The singer reveals how her uncle taped 150 interviews for a biography of the famous Welsh poet
DIY is not fun and we've finally realised this as a nation

Homebase closures: 'DIY is not fun'

Homebase has announced the closure of one in four of its stores. Nick Harding, who never did know his awl from his elbow, is glad to see the back of DIY
The Battle of the Five Armies: Air New Zealand releases new Hobbit-inspired in-flight video

Air New Zealand's wizard in-flight video

The airline has released a new Hobbit-inspired clip dubbed "The most epic safety video ever made"
Pumpkin spice is the flavour of the month - but can you stomach the sweetness?

Pumpkin spice is the flavour of the month

The combination of cinnamon, clove, nutmeg (and no actual pumpkin), now flavours everything from lattes to cream cheese in the US
11 best sonic skincare brushes

11 best sonic skincare brushes

Forget the flannel - take skincare to the next level by using your favourite cleanser with a sonic facial brush
Paul Scholes column: I'm not worried about Manchester United's defence - Chelsea test can be the making of Phil Jones and Marcos Rojo

Paul Scholes column

I'm not worried about Manchester United's defence - Chelsea test can be the making of Jones and Rojo
Frank Warren: Boxing has its problems but in all my time I've never seen a crooked fight

Frank Warren: Boxing has its problems but in all my time I've never seen a crooked fight

While other sports are stalked by corruption, we are an easy target for the critics
Jamie Roberts exclusive interview: 'I'm a man of my word – I'll stay in Paris'

Jamie Roberts: 'I'm a man of my word – I'll stay in Paris'

Wales centre says he’s not coming home but is looking to establish himself at Racing Métro
How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?

A crime that reveals London's dark heart

How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?
Meet 'Porridge' and 'Vampire': Chinese state TV is offering advice for citizens picking a Western moniker

Lost in translation: Western monikers

Chinese state TV is offering advice for citizens picking a Western moniker. Simon Usborne, who met a 'Porridge' and a 'Vampire' while in China, can see the problem
Handy hacks that make life easier: New book reveals how to rid your inbox of spam, protect your passwords and amplify your iPhone

Handy hacks that make life easier

New book reveals how to rid your email inbox of spam, protect your passwords and amplify your iPhone with a loo-roll
KidZania lets children try their hands at being a firefighter, doctor or factory worker for the day

KidZania: It's a small world

The new 'educational entertainment experience' in London's Shepherd's Bush will allow children to try out the jobs that are usually undertaken by adults, including firefighter, doctor or factory worker