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THE DEATH OF PHOTOGRAPHER CHARLIE GRIEVES-COOK: MODEL DIANA NEKOYE SIFUNA, THE KENYAN POLICE AND THE PRESS

‘Freelance photographer Charlie Grieves-Cook died after falling from a balcony in Langata’

The circumstances surrounding the tragic death of fashion photographer Charlie Grieves-Cook who fell from a balcony whilst visiting his girlfriend, 24-year-old former Mnet Face of Africa contestant and model Diana Nekoye Sifuna, at her flat in the Desert Rose apartment block in Langata, have as yet not been fully explained. The story so far, however, does say much about the press, both international and local, and the Kenyan police.

The fact that Mr Grieves-Cook came from a prominent and wealthy English/white family living in Kenya and was apparently dating the beautiful black model Ms Diana Nekoye at the time of his death, and that he died in suspicious circumstances, was a combination that guaranteed the story would receive coverage in both the Kenyan and the UK media. The story as reported in the two countries does not quite match up, however.

The Standard’s ‘Monday Blues’ page, that paper’s ‘official showbiz and gossip column’, reported that Ms Nekoye had told the

police that ‘a gang’ had called at her flat, forced their way in and ‘demanded to know about the whereabouts of Charlie’, at which point he ‘took cover at the balcony’.

The report continued: ‘After the gang had gone she rushed to the balcony and found Cook holding onto a metal bar, his legs hanging in the air… She then went back to the house to get something that could help pull him up’, but on returning to the balcony, ‘he wasn’t there… instead his body was lying on the concrete’ below.

TWO YOUNG MEN DEMANDED TO SEE ‘THE MZUNGU’

‘Model Diana Nekoye Sifuna’

The British Sunday newspaper The Sunday Times, however, reported that two men had rung the bell at the apartment door. Ms Nekoye, ‘thinking it was binmen looking for payment’ had opened the door but instead been confronted by two young men, ‘demanding to see the “mzungu”’. She told them they had the wrong address, at which point one of them pulled a gun. There was a struggle, at least two shots were fired and the men fled the scene.

In The Sunday Times report, Diana Nekoye was reported as saying that after she returned to the balcony and found Grieves-Cook hanging, “He advised me to go get a rope. I went and pick a rag and when I went back I saw him falling down”.

The British tabloid newspaper, The Daily Mail, reported that Charlie Grieves-Cook had fallen on to a ‘concrete ledge’.

THE KENYAN POLICE

The Kenyan Police are reported to be investigating whether Mr Grieves-Cook died as a result of a ‘robbery gone wrong’, or following an attack by hired killers perhaps on the orders of ‘a jealous love rival’.

The Daily Mail quoted Police Commander David Rono Bonei as saying: “We believe this lady may have had two or three other boyfriends. Men get very jealous. It is only human”.

Commander Rono’s comments were but one of several utterances to the press made by the Kenya Police. The Kenya Forum asks: whatever are the police doing making such speculative public statements to the media when their investigations are still underway?

Diana Nekoye, her friends and friends of Charlie Grieves-Cook, have apparently been advised not to comment to the media until the police investigation has taken its course. This is wise advice, says the Kenya Forum. The Kenyan Police should do likewise.

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