Tonio Trzebinski inquest opens into ‘White Mischief’ copycat murder in Kenya

Tonio Trzebinski with his wife Anna
Tonio Trzebinski with his wife Anna.

The mother of British-educated playboy artist, Tonio Trzebinski, who was murdered more than 14 years ago in Kenya has told an inquest into his unsolved murder that he was “fearful” of his estranged wife in the weeks leading up to his death.

Errol Trzebinski claims “hired assassins” shot and murdered her son outside the home of his mistress, 30 year old Natasha Illum, known as the ‘Ice Queen’ by some of Kenya’s elite, in the affluent Nairobi suburb of Langata. His death was initially believed to be the result of a carjacking.

Natasha Illum
Toni’s mistress, Natasha Illum, also known as the ‘Ice Queen’ by some of Kenya’s elite

Tonio’s death shocked Kenya’s prosperous white community, and drew comparisons to the also-unsolved murder of Lord Errol in 1941.

Its uncanny similarity to the notorious murder of Lord Erroll, renowned for his womanising among the aristocratic Happy Valley set sent shockwaves through the ex-pat community. The story was later immortalised in the novel and Charles Dance movie, White Mischief.

The inquest heard how, after an argument on September 29 2001, Mr Trzebinski had asked for a divorce from his German-born wife Anna and left the home he shared with her and their two children.

Anna Trzebinski
Anna Trzebinski who was married to Tonio Trzebinski when he was shot dead in Oct 2001.

The argument had started after she confronted him about his relationship with Danish big game hunter Natasha Illum and slashed one of his paintings.

“He started to become very fearful and he kept saying, ‘Whatever you do, you must not let Anna know my whereabouts; whatever you do, don’t tell anybody who knows Anna my whereabouts’.

“It was very strange.” – Errol Trzebinski

According to a witness statement released last year, in 2012 the Trzebinski’s housekeeper Elijah Mulei Kisangau told the police he had overheard Anna Trzebinski arguing with her mother Dodo Cunningham-Reid and Ludovico Gnecchi, her mother’s Italian lover, about her husband.

All three denied that the conversation took place and Anna Trzebinski, a successful fashion designer, left Nairobi three days before her husband died.

Tonio Trzebinski
Tonio Trzebinski

It was reported that the pair’s marriage was often “tempestuous”, and they renewed their vows in 1998 after Mr Trzebinski had a brief affair with Kenyan BBC wildlife presenter and star of This Wild Life, Saba Douglas-Hamilton.

“I just want them to answer for what they’ve done,” Errol Trzebinski said outside the court after the inquest was adjourned until April 4.

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