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Kenya Murder Mystery on - The Best Documentaries... Instantly On Demand

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Tom Cholmondeley, heir to the vast Kenyan Delamere estate, faces the death penalty following the alleged shooting of a poacher on the 56,000 acre family estate. Filmmaker Fiona Cunningham-Reid follows the trials, which have come to underline the sharp divisions over land, race and privilege in a country suffering from colonial hangover.

‘Tom has two big problems. This is not the first time he has been accused of killing a black man. He is also the heir to an immense colonial estate, in a country where land reform is an explosive political issue.’ Eton-educated, the Hon Thomas Cholmondeley, grandson of the late Lord Delamere and heir to both the title and one of the country’s biggest estates was arrested on May 10, 2006 after he allegedly killed Mr Robert Njoya, a local resident who is said to have been illegally poaching on the family estate.

Thomas Cholmondeley is at the mercy of the Kenyan judicial system where nearly one million trials are pending, with a backlog of nearly three hundred murder trials. The case of Njoya's death is made more controversial because it was the second time in just over a year that Cholmondeley was implicated in a fatal shooting on his family's farm. The first case, in which an off-duty game warden was killed, was dismissed for lack of evidence. Following his acquittal from this previous murder charge, there is much anger against the perception that, ‘a white man is above the law’, prompting angry protests from some villagers already resentful of what they saw as colonial-era intrusion into their traditional lands.

Distant relative Fiona Cunningham-Reid follows the trials and tribulations of the Delamere family over these two years. Originally a sceptic of the Delamere’s insistence of his innocence, Cunningham-Reid begins to wonder whether this fascinating human story chronicling a pivotal stage in modern Africa, will result in an outcome reflecting the country's ability to move forward or to be 'stranded at the crossroads'.

This fascinating documentary, originally aired as part of Channel 4's 'True Stories' series, gains unprecedented access and features Cholmondeley’s court case, interviews with his family, legal team, and girlfriend, Sally Dudmesh.


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