Murder of Julie Ward

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Julie Ward was a British woman who was murdered in Kenya in September 1988. Ward died whilst on safari in the Masai Mara game reserve. The subsequent investigation into her death was notable for the campaign by her father, John Ward; firstly to persuade the Kenyan authorities to recognise that his daughter was murdered, and secondly to try to identify the killer or killers. Three people were charged with her murder, although none have been convicted.


Ward, then 28, was a wildlife photographer. She went missing on a solo photography safari in the Masai Mara game reserve. Last seen alive on 6 September 1988, her burned and dismembered body was found by her father on 13 September.[1] The original theory put forth by the Kenyan officials was that she had been eaten by lions and struck by lightning, but they later accepted that she was murdered after her father's efforts uncovered further evidence. The coroner's report had been altered to disguise the fact that her bones had been cut by a sharp blade rather than gnawed by animals.[2] In 2004 a British inquest recorded a verdict of unlawful killing.[1]


There have been two trials: in 1992, two park rangers were acquitted of her murder, then in 1998, the head park warden was also acquitted.[3]

John Ward has spent nearly £2 million on the investigation and has made over 100 visits to Kenya.[1][4]

He has accused the Kenyan government of former President Daniel arap Moi of trying to cover up Miss Ward's murder to prevent damage to the tourist industry.[5] A former MI6 agent has admitted having a role in the case.[6]

The case was reopened in October 2009 after a secret visit, to Kenya, by John Yates, the head of the Metropolitan Police's anti-terrorism squad.[1]

Valentine Ohuru Kodipo, a key witness of the murder, died in December 2009.[7]


  1. ^ a b c d Alderson, Andrew (10 October 2009). "Julie Ward murder case reopened". The Sunday Telegraph. Archived from the original on 13 October 2009. Retrieved 12 October 2009. 
  2. ^ McVeigh, Karen (3 January 2003). "New Kenyan government may re-open Julie Ward murder case". The Scotsman. Johnston Press Digital Publishing. Retrieved 2009-02-09. 
  3. ^ Pflanz, Mike (7 December 2006). "'Fresh evidence' in Julie Ward murder". Daily Telegraph. Telegraph Media Group. Retrieved 9 February 2009. 
  4. ^ Orr, James (11 October 2009). "Kenya agrees to reopen Julie Ward death case". The Observer. Ward, 75, has spent nearly £2m and made more than 100 visits to Africa in pursuit of his daughter's killers. The retired hotelier from Brockley, Suffolk, said yesterday: "This case is solvable because we haven't run out of leads yet. Armed with the new DNA evidence, what we need now is the full co-operation of the Kenyan authorities." 
  5. ^ "Fresh probe into Kenya murder urged". Metro. Press Association. 6 December 2006. Retrieved 12 October 2009. 
  6. ^ Barkham, Patrick (30 April 2004). "MI6 agent hid role in Julie Ward murder case". The Guardian. Guardian News and Media. 
  7. ^ The Standard, 23 December 2009: Key witness to Julie Ward’s murder dies Archived 20 April 2011 at the Wayback Machine.