The prime suspect in the murder of British rancher Tristan Voorspuy has appeared in court.
Samson Lokayi was arrested on Sunday, but failed to submit a plea on Monday claiming he does not understand either English or Swahili, the languages used in court. He is expected to appear in court for a second time today (Tuesday 14 March) when the prosecution are expected to bring a translator who can speak Pokot.
Senior Resident Magistrate Evans Ngige ordered that Mr Lokayi be detained at Nanyuki Police Station until his next appearance in court.
A mobile phone and wallet were missing from the deceased’s body when it was recovered. When police seized the 25-year-old, he was found with a device believed to be Mr Voorspuy’s in his possession which the authorities have asked the expat’s family to identify.
“We strongly believe the person in our custody is the one who fired the shot that felled Mr Voorspuy. His two accomplices who shot dead the horse the deceased was riding on March 5 are on the run and we are pursuing them.” – Laikipia County Commander, Simon Kipkeu
According to police, the suspect comes from Amaya village in Baringo County and has a pending case before a Nyahururu court in connection with possession of game trophy. He skipped the hearing which was scheduled for last Thursday and allegedly uses three different names.
Mr Kipkeu said a police informer positively identified the suspect as one of three seen fleeing towards Mugie Ranch soon after Mr Voorspuy’s murder.
South African born Tristan Voorspuy, is a former British army officer who was shot dead on March 6 while inspecting fire damage caused by illegal grazers who had invaded his Sosian ranch.
British High Commissioner Nic Hailey has condemned the murder of Mr Voorspuy and urged the government to “take all necessary steps urgently to restore law and order”.
Mr Voorspuy’s body was left at the scene for more than 24 hours owing to the volatile security situation.
Kenya’s government has dispatched police units to the region to improve order.
Searching for pasture in drought stricken Laikipia, thousands of herders, some armed with guns and spears, have invaded private ranches and wildlife parks with their livestock, slaughtering animals and destroyed property.
379 herders were arrested and charged last week over the invasions and Member of Parliament for Laikipia North, Mathew Lempurkel was arrested and charged last week, accused of inciting the illegal grazers to storm the ranches in search of pasture. He denies the charge and was released on a Ksh200,000 bond.