Delamere heir Tom Cholmondeley dies at 48 after surgery

Thomas Cholmondeley at the Nairobi Law Courts on July 8, 2008 during his trial. FILE PHOTO | REUTERS
Thomas Cholmondeley at the Nairobi Law Courts on July 8, 2008 during his trial. FILE PHOTO | REUTERS 

Forty eight year old Thomas Patrick Gilbert Cholmondeley, son of the Fifth Lord Delamere, died yesterday while undergoing a hip replacement surgery at MP Shah hospital in Nairobi.

Mr Cholmondeley, who hit international headlines for fatally shooting a Kenya Wildlife Service ranger in April 2005 and later a stonemason in May 2006, died shortly after 2.15 p.m.

The farmer-cum-businessman led a reclusive life upon his release from Kamiti Maximum Prison where he served an eight-month jail term for manslaughter after High Court Judge Muga Apondi convicted him of killing mason Robert Njoya at their Sosyambu conservancy, saying the accused would have time to reflect on his actions and amend appropriately.

The expansive Sosyambu conservancy is about 19,000 hectares (48,000 acres).

Authorities at MP Shah Hospital said Mr Cholmondeley died of cardiac arrest shortly after he was wheeled from the operating surgical theatre.

Mr Cholmondeley, aka ‘The Last White Man Standing’ as portrayed on BBC Four's Storyville documentary feature, initially enjoyed a reprieve in 2005 that shocked the world when then Attorney General Amos Wako terminated murder proceedings against him over the death of KWS ranger Samson Ole Sisina.

But he was at it again a year later when he opened fire and killed Mr Njoya, who had entered into Sosyambu conservancy to hunt while accompanied by a friend and a pack of dogs.

It is this incident that saw the sixth Mr Cholmondeley, educated at Britain’s prestigious Eton College, stand trial for murder which dragged on for three years.

In the case the court heard that Njoya had entered into the wildlife sanctuary to hunt wild animals for food when Mr Cholmondeley, then accompanied by his close friend and associate Carl Tundo, came across Njoya and his friend.

Mr Cholmondeley said he fired shots at the approaching dogs and he accidently hit Njoya while Njoya’s friend fled.

The court found that while the accused used excessive force, Mr Njoya had also trespassed into the farm that belonged to Mr Cholmondeley’s family.