Yesterday (Monday 28 November), warring siblings exposed their toxic family feud in a Kenyan court as they fought over responsibility for their property tycoon father’s death.
64 year-old British national Harry Roy Veevers, died on Valentine’s Day 2013 at one of his three homes near the coastal city of Mombasa. Phillip and Richard Veevers, his sons from his first marriage, have accused their two half-sisters, Helen and Alexandra, and their mother Azra Parvin Din, of poisoning him. They claim the trio murdered their father after he revealed he was leaving Azra for another woman.
However, the sisters and their mother deny the allegations and instead claim that Richard and Phillip have concocted the story to cheat them out of their rightful inheritance.
Even though the four siblings all live in the UK, they found themselves sat in a Mombasa courtroom to hear pathologist Moses Njue, who was hired by Richard after he persuaded the authorities to exhume their father’s body, tell the court Mr Veevers’ death was “obviously poisoning”.
Mr Njue said he detected the pesticide cyhalothrin, commonly used to kill mosquitoes, in a sample of wet soil located beneath Mr Veevers’ stomach.
“There is no way you can find a pesticide six feet under the ground near the position of the stomach unless it was ingested.” – Pathologist, Moses Njue
However, a toxicology report commissioned by the sisters contradicted his evidence and found no trace of the chemical on their father’s remains.
As Mr Njue was speaking, the sisters accused him of lying. Their shouts from the public gallery, led Chief magistrate Douglas Ogoti to warn them: “You may find yourselves in the cells. You cannot disturb the court.”
Following his death, Mr Veevers’ sons were told it was due to a heart attack and his body was buried without a post-mortem being conducted. However, Richard and Phillip became suspicious after Azra and their half-sisters were hostile towards them when they all flew to Kenya following his death.
Richard told the court how he and Phillip decided to examine their father’s body in the mortuary for signs of “foul play”, describing how they uncovered his body and saw discolouration around his chest and head.
Lawyer William Mogaka refuted the brothers’ accusation and ibstead, asked Richard whether he and Phillip had inserted the pesticide into their father’s body during this examination. This is an accusation Richard denied.
“What type of examination were you doing? Only the two of you know.” – William Mogaka
The court also heard from Richard, who told the court he, along with his ex-wife and children had faced threats from his sisters and Azra whom he claimed had been cautioned by police.
Apart from the “usual family spats”, he claimed the siblings used to get along,”, but that the relationship “soured” when their father mentioned he had a new girlfriend.
Five months before his death, Richard claims Azra threatened to kill Harry, but as he gave his testimony, his half-sisters Helen and Alexandra sat shaking their heads, muttering. The sisters, who were in the UK at the time of their father’s death, claim they have also faced death threats.
The inquest continues.