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Cholmondeley set free

NAIROBI, Kenya, Oct 23 – British aristocrat Thomas Cholmondeley was finally set free on Friday after serving five months at the Kamiti Maximum Prison over the killing of stonemason Robert Njoya.

Officials said Mr Cholmondeley is among the 7,000 prisoners set free under the Presidential pardon during the Kenyatta Day celebrations.

Commissioner of Prisons Isaiah Osugo confirmed the release and said there was nothing peculiar about it.

“Tom has been set free because he is remaining with less than six months to complete his jail term; he is not the only one being set free,” Mr Osugo told Capital News on telephone.

“We have cleared him, he is a free man,” he added.

Sources within the Prisons headquarters told Capital News that Mr Cholmondeley’s name was in the list of the over 7,000 prisoners who were set free under the Presidential pardon program on October 20.

The aristocrat’s lawyer Fred Ojiambo was unavailable for comment on Friday.

Mr Cholmondeley’s family members were equally out of reach but reports indicated they had lined up a series of posh celebrations both in Nairobi and their Soysambu ranch in Naivasha.

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Mr Cholmondeley, the sole heir to Kenya’s most famous white land-owning dynasty was sentenced in May 2009 for eight months in jail for manslaughter in the killing of Robert Njoya.

Police said they were on high alert following reports that residents in Naivasha would launch protests near the family’s 48,000-acre ranch to protest the release as was the case when he was handed the jail-term five months ago.

When Justice Muga Apondi read the ruling in May, he said: “There was evidence that Cholmondeley did not have malice aforethought in killing the deceased, and that he bore him no grudge and the shooting was not pre-meditated."
He stated: “I hereby wish to impose a light sentence on the accused to allow him to reflect on his life and change to an appropriate direction. The upshot of this is I hereby sentence him to eight months in prison."

He had been charged with murder but the judge convicted him for manslaughter.


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