Man sentenced to death for his part in murder and abduction of British couple in Kenya


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The Independent Online

A man has been sentenced to death for being part of a gang of pirates who murdered a British tourist in Kenya before holding his wife hostage, Scotland Yard has revealed.

David Tebbutt, 58, was shot and killed when the group burst into the couple's villa at a remote resort in September 2011.

His wife, Judith, was abducted and taken to Somalia where she was held for more than six months before eventually being released.

Ali Babitu Kololo, who guided the kidnappers to the resort and the Tebbutts' location, was found guilty of robbery with violence, a spokesman for the Metropolitan Police said.

He was convicted following an investigation by the Kenyan authorities with assistance by officers from the Met's Counter Terrorism Command (SO15).

A small team of SO15 officers travelled to Kenya shortly after Mr Tebbutt's murder and matched footprints found on the beach after his wife's abduction to the shoes worn by Kololo when he was arrested shortly after the incident.

Officers also provided expertise in forensic evidence, assisted Kenyan prosecutors as they prepared for the trial and provided family liaison support to the family.

Head of SO15, Commander Richard Walton, said: "Kololo played a key role in this murder and kidnap bringing the attackers to the resort and helping them search for victims.

"The Kenyan investigation remains on-going and we are committed to helping them bring David's killers and those who put Judith through such a long ordeal to justice. I'd like to pay tribute to Judith, her son Oliver and their family who have all shown extraordinary courage and dignity.

"The investigation team, led by Detective Superintendent Neil Hibberd, have also shown great skill and tenacity in assisting this Kenyan investigation."

Kololo, who was sacked from his job at the Kiwayu Safari Village several months before the attack, denied the charges against him.

His lawyer said that he would appeal his client's sentence, according to The Telegraph.

The Tebbutts, from Bishop's Stortford, Hertfordshire, travelled to the resort, which is close to the African country's border with Somalia, after visiting the Masai Mara game reserve.

Mrs Tebbutt, a former social worker, was reported to have told Kololo's trial she immediately felt nervous about security after arriving at the beach resort for the two-week stay and was uneasy that she and her husband were the only guests.

She said she woke on the night of the raid to find several intruders armed with rifles inside the grass-woven hut where she was sleeping.

Mrs Tebbutt told the hearing in Lamu that she heard her husband shouting and saw him grappling with a member of the gang as she was dragged from the room.

She was then forced to run along the beach and hit on the back of the head with a rifle before being bundled into a boat, according to reports from the trial.

She also revealed that shortly after being driven away on the boat her captors revealed they were after money - raising her hopes that she would be freed.

Mrs Tebbutt was reunited with her son Oliver and flown back to Britain in March last year following her release.

It was reported her family paid a ransom of 1.3 million US dollars (£800,000) to free her.

No death sentences have been carried out in Kenya since 1987.