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“Would you please pass this bottle of water to Tom?”


“Would you please pass this bottle of water to Tom?” Lady Delamere asked me while we were waiting in court to hear the sentencing of her son, Tom Cholmondeley, who had been convicted of manslaughter for shooting a black poacher in Kenya.

After three years in prison, one of Kenya’s best-known white aristocrats was told he would have to serve a further eight months in jail in a case that has highlighted land, race, wealth and tribal tensions in the country.

I squeezed through the crowded courtroom to give Cholmondeley the water from his mother and returned to my spot where the Delamere family was awaiting the judge’s decision.
It was the second time I had seen Cholmondeley in person and in court. A very tall man in a pressed suit with always the same impassive expression on his clean-shaven face.

It was an awkward experience for me and probably for most people in the court room where rich and poor, black and white have all, unusually for Kenya, been huddled together in one space.