Herder charged with murder of Tristan Voorspuy pleads not guilty in court

Tristan Voorspuy
Tristan Voorspuy, owner and founder of Offbeat Safaris Ltd.

A Kenyan herder who has been charged with the murder of former British army officer Tristan Voorspuy appeared in court yesterday (Tuesday 4 April).

Samson Lokayi pleaded not guilty to the charge of killing the expat last month in the east African country’s northern region of Laikipia.

The charge sheet stated that on March 5 at Sosian Ranch, together with others not before court, Mr Lokayi murdered Tristan Voorspuy.

After the murder charge was read to him, the 26-year-old who is also known by the alias Tepatuk Kachartat claimed; “I have not killed anyone”.

Lokayi applied for bail but the judge, Mary Kasanga, ordered that he remain in jail while a decision was made regarding his application.

The prosecution opposed his bond application, arguing that he was likely to skip court because he has no fixed residence, but the defendant argued that continued detention was a violation of his constitutional rights since police were to blame for failing complete investigations on time.

His lawyer Maobe Maotsetung protested, saying: “When the accused appeared before a lower court mid last month, the prosecution had asked the court to detain him so that they could visit his home in Baringo County and I believe they know where he lives.

“Now he is being punished simply because he is a pastoralist who keeps on migrating in search of pasture,” he continued.

However, Justice Kasango ruled that he could only make a decision over whether to grant bail to the accused once a pre-bail report is presented.

The probation office were directed to prepare a report on the accused to be tabled before court on May 10.

Tristan Voorspuy
Tristan Voorspuy in Kenya.

Mr Voorspuy, a British military veteran who ran a safari company in Kenya, was shot dead at a private ranch in the drought-stricken Laikipia region after going to inspect the remains of a friend’s home that had been burnt down by herders days earlier.

His murder was condemned by UK High Commissioner to Kenya, Nic Hailey.

There have been numerous attacks in Laikipia in recent months as armed cattle herders searching for scarce grazing have driven tens of thousands of cattle onto private farms and ranches. At least a dozen people have been killed during the unrest.