British woman who believes Kenyan was used as a scapegoat for her husband’s murder gives support to legal appeal

David and Judith Tebbutt
Judith Tebbutt with her husband David.

A British woman who was kidnapped by Somali pirates and held hostage for six months after they murdered her husband is supporting the legal appeal of the only man convicted.

Judith Tebbutt has said she does not believe Kenyan Ali Babitu Kololo received a fair trial, and claims he has been made a scapegoat for the 2011 incident.

Speaking to BBC News, Ms Tebbutt said: “I do want justice. But I don’t want justice at any cost. I don’t want anyone sentenced and put into prison and spend seven years of his life when there is any shadow of a doubt over it.”

The attack took place on September 11, 2011 while Mrs Tebbutt and her husband, David, were holidaying in the remote but luxurious Kiwayu Safari Village in Kenya.

Somali pirates burst into their hut and shot her husband dead before beating her with a rifle butt, dragging her to the beach, and taking her in a boat to Somalia, where she was held in primitive conditions for more than six months.

In 2012, local man Kololo was convicted of robbery with violence in a Kenyan court and sentenced to death, but this was later commuted to life imprisonment. Authorities in Kenya are not looking for any other suspects in connection to the incident.

However,  Mrs Tebbutt is adamant she did not recognise Mr Kololo as one of the attackers. 

Kololo’s conviction followed an investigation in which Kenyan police were aided by a team of counterterrorism detectives from the Metropolitan Police, led by Detective Sergeant Neil Hibberd, who is now under investigation for his role in the case.

In court proceedings Mr Kololo’s lawyers have alleged Mr Hibberd, the prosecution’s key witness, withheld forensic evidence which undermined the case against him, and that he misled the court by giving selective evidence.

They also say the Metropolitan Police detective should not have taken part in a trial where the defendant could face the death penalty, and had been tortured.

According to BBC News, now-retired Mr Hibberd is due to be interviewed by the National Crime Agency in an investigation overseen by the police watchdog the IPOC.

Mr Hibberd’s lawyers are reported to have told the BBC that he intends to co-operate with the investigation. 

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