Bishop's Stortford: Man Guilty In Kenya Murder And Kidnapping

30 July 2013, 06:07 | Updated: 30 July 2013, 06:12

A man has been found guilty of being part of a gang of pirates who murdered a Bishop's Stortford man in Kenya.

58-year-old David Tebbutt 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 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, has been 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.

The Tebbutts travelled to the resort, which is close to the African country's border with Somalia, aftervisiting 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 £800,000 to free her.

She revealed after her release that she did not know the gang had killed her husband for two weeks after she was kidnapped.

A Long Walk Home, a book that she wrote about her ordeal, was published at the beginning of the month.

A Foreign Office spokesman said: "We welcome efforts by the Kenyan authorities to bring those responsible for the kidnap of Judith Tebbutt and the murder of her husband, David, to justice.

"News that Ali Babitu Kololo has been found guilty of robbery with violence is a positive development, but the wider Kenya investigations continue.''