A white Kenyan aristocrat convicted of the manslaughter of a poacher on his estate in 2006 has been sentenced to eight months in prison. The judge told a packed courtroom that he had decided to give Thomas Cholmondeley a light sentence. The Eton-educated 40-year-old has spent the last three years in jail.

ARISTOCRATLast week, the judge cut Cholmondeley’s murder charge to manslaughter as he did not show “malice aforethought” in the shooting of Robert Njoya. The case, involving the descendant of one of Kenya’s first British settlers, has attracted huge media attention. “There should not be one law for the rich and another for the poor
Justice Muga Apondi

Justice Muga Apondi told the court he had not taken into account the accused’s offer to pay compensation to the dead man’s family. “There should not be one law for the rich and another for the poor,” the judge said. But he noted the accused had used his own car to take the man to hospital, after shooting him. Justice Apondi said the process had humbled the accused, so he wanted to deliver a light sentence, which is to start immediately, to let him reflect on his life.

After the sentence was read out, people started protesting in court and waving placards, one of which read: “The Butcher of Naivasha.” In 2005 Cholmondeley admitted shooting a Maasai ranger, but the case was dropped owing to insufficient evidence. That decision provoked outrage and mass protests among the Maasai community.



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