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There was no trace of drugs in Briton's body who died in Kwale, says State expert

By Willis Oketch | March 24th 2016
Hilary Monson (right), mother of the late Alexander Monson, and a friend follow proceedings at the Mombasa Law Courts yesterday. [Photo: Kelvin Karani/Standard]

MOMBASA: There was no trace of drugs in the body of a British aristocrat who died in police custody, an expert said yesterday.
 Alexander Monson died at Palm Beach Hospital in Diani, Kwale on May 19, 2012 after being arrested at a nightclub on claims he was smoking marijuana.

Alexander’s family claimed he died as a result of police beatings or medical negligence and has relentlessly sought justice, accusing the police of orchestrating a cover-up. The family also claims police invented theories that Alexander died of a drug overdose to tarnish his reputation and evade responsibility.

Kenyan authorities yielded to pressure and launched a judicial inquest in April last year.

The forensic expert, John Njenga, yesterday told Mombasa Senior Principal Magistrate Richard Odenyo that after analysing samples from Alexander’s body on May 25, 2012, he did not see any trace of drugs.

“When the samples of stomach, kidney and liver were brought to me for forensic analysis in the Government laboratory, police asked me to specifically find out if there was any drug from the three samples, “said Njenga.

Njenga told the inquest into the cause of the aristocrat’s death  that after his analysis in the laboratory, he found there was no trace of drugs in the samples of the body.

“I can confirm there was no trace of drugs in the stomach, kidney and liver samples, which were brought for analysis in the Government chemist,” said Njenga.

He also said police did not bring urine and blood samples for analysis but insisted if there was no trace of drug in the kidney, liver and the stomach, nothing could have been found from the urine and blood samples.

Despite having asked them to bring the samples of blood and urine, they did not do so. But I do stand by the report I have given. I do not expect any other report from my department to contradict my report,” he said during cross-examination by family lawyer AB Olaba.

Njenga gave the answer after Olaba asked him what could have happened if the police had taken urine and blood for analysis.


The Government forensic testimony contradicts that of a pathologist who said there were traces of drugs in Alexander’s urine, which led to his death because of an overdose. “Since there is no trace of any drug in the sample I examined, I am 100 per cent sure Alexander did not swallow or take any of these drugs the police brought to the laboratory,” said Njenga.

The drugs the police took to the laboratory and suspected Alexander might have swallowed included viagra, bhang and a steriliser in a bottle.

The forensic expert report has now dispelled claims that Alexander died from a drug overdose as was claimed by the police.

Njenga argued that despite the samples having been brought to the laboratory six days after Alexander’s death, that could not have had any effect on the search of drugs in the body.

“Yes it is possible to find a drug in the body even after six days because things like drugs traces do not disappear from people’s remains,” he said.

Alexander’s mother, Hilary Monson, who attended the proceedings, expressed hope that the suspects behind the killing would be found. “I am confident the investigation, which was carried out by Independent Police Oversight Authority, will yield positive results,” said Hilary.

“I believe this time round there is enough evidence to link the suspected killers of my son. I think the pathologist is very clear on the cause of the death of my son. He died after being hit by a blunt object on the head,” she added.
She said the pathologist was very clear and wondered who could have caused the head injury with the blunt object.

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