John Ward, the father of Julie Ward, the young British wildlife photographer murdered in Kenya’s Masai Mara in September 1988, has died just short of his 90th birthday, and just two weeks after Julie’s mother Jan died.
For over 30 years John Ward doggedly continued the search for the truth into his daughter’s murder, making over 100 visits to Kenya, in his pursuit of justice, often in the face of intransigence by both the Kenyan and British authorities [See ‘Killing of Julie Ward’].
The investigation of Julie Ward’s murder: an attempted cover-up?
The original theory put forward by the Kenyan officials was that Julie Ward had been eaten by lions and struck by lightning. It was only later accepted that she was murdered after John ward uncovered further evidence. The Kenyan coroner’s report had been altered to disguise the fact that her bones had been cut by a sharp blade rather than gnawed by animals.
The investigation of Julie Ward’s murder: trials but no convictions
Three people were charged with her murder, although none were convicted.
In 1992 two park rangers were acquitted of her murder due to a lack of evidence. The presiding judge in the trial recommended the investigation of the head park ranger.
In July 1998, Simon Ole Makallah, the chief park warden at the time of the murder, was arrested following a two-year investigation but was subsequently found not guilty at a second trial due to lack of evidence.
In later years the spotlight of suspicion fell on Jonathan Moi, one of President Danial arap Moi’s sons, for his possible role in the murder. Jonathan Moi however, died of cancer in April 2019.
In 1991 a book by John Ward, ‘The Animals are Innocent – The Search for Julie’s Killers’, was published and he had just completed a second book shortly before his death. It is also believed that Netflix are working on a 10-part film based on the murder of Julie Ward.
Martin Minns, Associate Editor, The Kenya Forum:
I was greatly saddened to receive an email from Rob Ward, the son of John and Jan Ward, informing me of their passing. John Ward and I got to know each other over occasional pub lunches near his home town of Bury St Edmunds in the East of England. Together we would discuss developments in John’s search for the truth and justice over the tragic murder of his daughter Julie in September1988, and my own investigation into the murder of Kenya’s Minister of Foreign Affairs Dr Robert Ouko in February 1990. There were several connections between the two cases, including the dubious conduct of Kenya’s then Chief Government Pathologist Dr Jason Kiviti and the involvement of New Scotland Yard’s International and Organised Crime Branch in both investigations. I always felt so very sad for John Ward having to cope with the tragedy of Julie’s death but also admiration that he kept on fighting tenaciously for over 30 years trying to uncover the truth and get justice.
I was due to have lunch with him on May 17th but John’s son Rob emailed me to say his father was in hospital and too ill to attend.
Analysing the claim that Jonathon Moi raped and murdered Julie Ward
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