Kenyan police said on Monday they were closing in on an armed gang that murdered a former British Army officer during a machete attack after they broke into his home.
David Parkinson, 58, the general manager of a 49,000-acre ranch in central Kenya, was slashed several times at his home near Nanyuki in central Kenya and died of his wounds, according to reports.
Marius Tum, Laikipia east police commander, said detectives investigating the murder were pursuing important leads that could lead to the arrest of more suspects. He told the Daily Nation that one suspect had been arrested in a nearby village on Sunday morning and was still in police custody.
The family spent yesterday waiting for the arrival of the couple's daughters to witness the post-mortem examination, it was reported.
The group smashed their way through a glass door while Mr Parkinson and his wife Sonja, 52, were sleeping early on Sunday. While some of them attacked Mr Parkinson, others tied his wife’s hands.
Mrs Parkinson was able to escape to a secure room and locked herself inside, emerging only when she was sure the attackers had gone. The local police chief, Marius Tum, told reporters: “The wife – who had been tied up – managed to escape into a strong room, only to return to find that her husband had been fatally wounded in some kind of scuffle.”
Police said one man had been arrested over the attack and they were pursuing leads that could lead to the arrests of other suspects, according to Kenya’s Daily Nation newspaper. The gang stole a laptop, a mobile phone, a small amount of money, ornaments and a bottle of champagne.
The couple’s two daughters live in Britain and are expected to travel to Kenya.For the past eight months, Mr Parkinson worked as general manager of the Lolldaiga Hills cattle ranch, near the Mount Kenya national park. He had lived in Kenya for the past decade after serving with the Parachute Regiment for 30 years from 1973. He rose to the rank of lieutenant colonel and was awarded an OBE in 1998, according to his LinkedIn profile.
Mr Parkinson worked as a conservationist and spent five years as the deputy director of a nearby game reserve, where Prince William proposed to Kate Middleton in 2010. The prince, who met Mr Parkinson, was said to be saddened by the news of his death, according to a spokesman.
Locals visiting to pay their respects said Mr Parkinson had helped to improve the roads in the area and gave casual jobs to locals. “He was a very good man,” said Esther Muthoni.
Harry Bucknall, who served in the Army with Lt-Col Parkinson, said he was devastated by the death of his friend. “Good people who loved Kenya and did so much for the locals. They didn’t deserve this,” Mr Bucknall said. “He was the best; a loyal and devoted friend. We had so many great times together.”
In London, the Foreign Office confirmed the death of Lt-Col Parkinson. “We are aware of his death and we stand ready to provide consular assistance to his family at this sad time,” a spokesman said.