Briton gets Sh65m for elephant attack

November 28, 2008 12:00 am

, NAIROBI, November 28 – The High Court has awarded over Sh65 million as compensation to a 48-year old British woman who was trampled and injured by an elephant at Il Ngwesi ranch eight years ago.

Justice Mary Ang’awa ruled on Friday that Wendy Martin, who survived a harrowing ordeal in June 2000 following an unprecedented attack by a rogue elephant, was injured extensively and suffered a lot of pain.

“I am satisfied with the evidence before this court, that the plaintiff (Wendy) sustained serious injuries,” Justice Ang’awa ruled.

Mrs Martin was reportedly airlifted from the scene to the Nairobi Hospital but was later transferred to the UK where she underwent a series of surgery for close to five years.

From the court documents, she was living in Kenya with her husband who worked at the United Nations office in Nairobi.

She had gone to the Lewa Conservancy in company her family and friends for her last safari trip in Kenya after her husband’s contract in Kenya ended.  According to media reports, the conservancy is run by Ian Craig, one of Kenya’s most famous conservationists. It is also reported in the media that UK’s Prince William was a frequent visitor to the ranch when he was dating Jecca who is Craig’s daughter.

The judgement indicated that the family drove together in a convoy with other couples on June 2, 2000 to the remote lodge.

On the fateful day, Mrs Martin had left the lodge in company of two female friends and a guide, ‘when a trampling rogue elephant appeared from the bushes and charged towards them’.

The four dashed in different directions following an alert by the guide advising them to take to their heels.

“The guide however did not advise them which direction to take,” the judge observed.

Hid in a bush

She ran in a different direction for a short while then fell down, and crawled into a nearby bush to hide. Unfortunately the elephant got to her.

“Its tusks went into her body with the full weight of it on her,” Justice Ang’awa said in her judgement.

“The elephant struck her with its tusks, twice she fell, and the tusks went directly through her torso, twice through her right leg. Her kidney was removed. The tusk went through her back,” the judge continued.

Justice Ang’awa pointed out that the evidence showed that Mrs Martin’s pelvis was crushed as the elephant dragged her for some distance before abandoning her.

“She fainted twice in my court room,” Justice Ang’awa said.

Mrs Martin sued the Il Ngwesi Company Limited which owned the ranch, and its owner Ian Hamshi Craig through Kapla Anjawalla, but they denied liability during the hearing of the case.

She said she suffered grave injuries including fractured bones, severe trauma, damage to her muscles and mental strain to an extent that she could not perform her duties any more.


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