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Hunt for killers of Hurstpierpoint soldier murdered in Kenya
12:51pm Tuesday 27th August 2013 in News
Police in Kenya are pursuing important leads which could lead to more arrests following the murder of a former British Army officer at his home.
Lieutenant Colonel David Parkinson, 58, was killed with a machete when an armed gang, also carrying a gun, broke into his house in the early hours of Sunday morning, Kenya's national newspaper, the Daily Nation reported.
His wife, Sonja, managed to flee the attack and lock herself in a storeroom until the gang had left, only to return and find her husband dead, the newspaper said.
Police reportedly said the armed robbers stole a laptop, phone and some ornaments.
The couple, originally from Hurstpierpoint, near Hassocks, West Sussex, were targeted at their Lolldaiga Hills cattle ranch in the town of Nanyuki in Laikipia county in central Kenya.
Marius Tum, Laikipia east police commander, said detectives investigating the murder were pursuing important leads that could lead to the arrest of more suspects. He told the Daily Nation that one suspect had been arrested in a nearby village on Sunday morning and was still in police custody.
The family spent yesterday waiting for the arrival of the couple's daughters to witness the post-mortem examination, it was reported.
Before moving to the ranch, Lt Col Parkinson, who received an OBE in 1998, served with the Parachute Regiment for 30 years, from 1973 to 2003, according to his LinkedIn profile.
He spent five years as deputy director at the Lewa Wildlife Conservancy, a nearby game reserve, and had been responsible for the management and development of Lolldaiga Hills, a 49,000-acre ranch and conservancy in northern Kenya, since January, his profile said.
He was also a director for the eastern unit of the Laikipia Wildlife Forum, a conservation organisation, it said.
Harry Bucknall, who served in the Army with Lt Col Parkinson, said he was "devastated" by the death of "a great friend" and "very special person indeed".
The Duke of Cambridge, who spent part of his gap year at the Lewa wildlife reserve, before returning with Kate Middleton in 2005, and again in 2010 where he proposed to her, said he was saddened to learn of the death of Lt Col Parkinson, whom he had met at the reserve.
Residents in Laikipia described Lt Col Parkinson as a "very good man"
who was development conscious and gave out casual jobs to local youths, the paper said.
The Foreign Office confirmed the death of Lt Col Parkinson and said: "We are aware of his death and we stand ready to provide consular assistance to his family at this sad time."
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