I recall this case at the time and in all the updates over the years. The unsolved murder of Julie Ward,28, has all the elements of an international thriller. It also has tortured her family for almost four decades. Her bloodhound like father is now very elderly and the danger is justice for Ms Ward will be lost to time.
Ms Ward had worked in PR doing long hours. At heart she was a photographer and after planning the trip of a lifetime she went on photo safari. The idea was to explore the exotic animals of Africa for six months.
A month short of her return home she disappeared. In the Wikipedia page it gives different details and so I went looking for the latest source. I have listed it below. In early September she was in the area of the Masi Mara and stayed at Serena Lodge. This is about nine and a half miles from the village of Seronera, Kenya. Ms Ward went missing and her father flew out and arranged for an aerial search.
John Ward was a wealthy man and he became a driven man. I admire his determination to find his daughter. A plane spotted the Suzuki off road vehicle Ms Ward had been driving. It was in a gulley abandoned. Mr Ward organised a search of the area over an extensive amount of barren terrain. Horrible fate would have it that it that is was the search he arranged that found her remains. She had been dismembered and placed in a fire. Mr Ward was quickly on the scene and says he saw where his daughter’s body had been burned in a camp fire.
At first the local cops said that Ms ward had been attacked by an animal. The Kenyan pathology report supported this. Mr Ward was not to be put off. Another pathologist pointed out cut marks that proved Ms Ward had been dismembered by a human.
In 1992 park rangers were tried for the killing but acquitted. The judge criticised the flawed police investigation. He also drew attention to disparities in the evidence of a chief warden, Simon ole Makallah. Makallah was later tried for the murder himself in 1998. He was then acquitted. By the time of his trial he was a high ranking official in the Kenyan Game Authority
Mr Ward had never been to Africa before September 1988 but that did not deter him. He had at one point a four person investigation team working on the case and it is reported he has since flown to Kenya 200 times in total.
Recently Mr Ward has stated he had information that the son of former President Daniel Arap Moi raped and killed Julie. He gives a powerful narrative and states he has witnesses. Daniel Arap Moi died in 2020 and after that Mr Ward claims people felt they could finally speak out.
In the time Mr Ward has been battling for the truth a witness has even come forward to say the pathologist falsified his conclusions. This would back up Mr Wards continued insistence that there was a cover up from the start.
Later Mr Ward used a Freedom of Information request to access a report by Lincolnshire police about the investigation into his daughters death. Part of the report read:
‘There is clear evidence of inconsistency and contradictions, falsehoods and downright lies, and it is this that has, not surprisingly, led to John Ward believing that there was an active conspiracy to prevent him from identifying his daughter’s killers.’
The same report also said that the Kenyan investigation had been full of:
‘Brazen, deceitful and dishonest behaviour’.
The final analysis of this report is shocking to anyone who still believes their government is at all truthful and concerned with any individual citizen:
‘The contradictions, untruths and evasive behaviour from a member of the British High Commission (political section)’, led Mr Ward to a belief that the authorities ‘had conspired deliberately to prevent Julie’s murderer(s) from being brought to justice’.
Not only was the investigation bungled in this case there is a powerful argument that evidence was deliberately obscured. The Suzuki Ms Ward had driven was secured for shipping to the UK by Mr Ward. His intention was to have it checked here for forensic evidence. The Kenyan police had it scrapped.
The only opinion I can form is one that holds my own government in contempt. Interference or collusion in covering up the way Ms Ward died was rife and international in its nature. As to who killed her I can only nod in the direction of what Mr Ward says.
Even if he is wrong and it was not the president’s son a desire to cover up a horrific and callous murder was carried out to aid tourism. At the time tourism was worth about $360 million a year. There had been other incidents of crime and there was good reason for authorities to fear a back lash.
Julie’s jeep was found in a place which was remote, but a gentle walk up a slope would have placed her with a view over to the airport near Seronera. This and the fact that she left footwear, food and other belongings suggests the Suzuki was ditched in the gulley after her death.
I leave you with the words of Mrs Ward. She said of her daughter:
‘ At the end of the day, I think about Julie as a lovely person. That’s all you can do, cling on to the happy memories.’