The mother of a young British aristocrat broke down in court yesterday as she gave testimony during an inquiry into his death, describing his wounds inflicted by men she called ‘monsters’. The family of Alexander Monson, son of the 12th Baron Monson allege that he was beaten to death by Kenyan police following his arrest for drugs offences during a night out with friends.
The first witness to give evidence in the inquiry, Hilary Monson, 61, told the court of her panic upon finding Alexander, 28, unconscious and handcuffed to a hospital bed just hours after his arrest. He died less than an hour after she arrived at the hospital, according to the Telegraph.
“It was a great shock to discover that he had been assaulted,” she said. “He had wounds to his scrotum, he had head injuries, and he died violently in the hands of monsters.
“When I arrived … at the hospital, I found three police officers at the door. I went into the room and [Alexander] was chained to the bed. I sat with my son for probably an hour at the most, and then he was dead.”
The police refused to unlock Mr Monson’s handcuffs until doctors ordered them to do so as they attempted to resuscitate him.
Kenyan Police continue to claim that Mr Monson died of a drugs overdose on the night of his arrest in May 2012 at the Tandoori Bar in Diani, where his mother owns and manages a string of holiday cottages. He was found to be in possession of a small amount of cannabis, cigarette papers and a tablet of ketamine.
Initial pathology reports found no drugs in his system, but subsequent studies found significant amounts of narcotics. The latter reports are expected to be presented to the inquiry as evidence of a drugs overdose, but Mr Monson’s family are questioning how the reports came to differ so wildly.
The family is also expected to point to post-mortem evidence showing “blunt force trauma” to Mr Monson’s head, as well as severe bruising to his genitals and left arm, which the family claim are evidence that he was brutally beaten whilst in custody. He died a little over 12 hours after his arrest.
Mrs Monson, who divorced Alexander’s father Lord Monson when their son was a child, is said by friends to have been dreading giving testimony. Speaking in February when the investigation was opened, she spoke of having “a glimmer of hope” that justice could be done.
She has been instrumental in keeping up pressure on the Kenyan authorities to investigate, particularly on the Independent Police Oversight Authority, which was set up four years ago with the help of British aid money in an attempt to reform the Kenyan police force.
“I’m not trying to be a hero or anything, but I can’t just sit down and let them get away with it,” she said. “I feel that Alexander deserves for us to do as much as we can possibly do.”
Lord Monson has repeatedly said that he knows the identity of his son’s killer and has accused Kenyan Police of closing ranks to protect their own. “Some hard questions need to be asked of the officers who were around that morning,” he said.
“It’s clear in my mind what happened. One name continues to crop up, and it is my understanding that this individual was the one, he had form, he was a vicious brute, and he had this young man, my son, in his control.
“I don’t think he intended to murder Alexander, he was just a brute who went too far. I’m sorry that there are people high up in the Kenya police who think that he should protected, because there is no other interpretation for it.”
He has also criticised the Foreign Office, which he says failed in their “duty of care” by not advising him to fly Alexander’s body back to the UK for further testing. Instead, Alexander was cremated in Kenya.
“That would have allowed any ambiguity about how he received that blunt force trauma on his head to be removed,” Lord Monson said. “It cannot now be removed as a possibility, for example, that he was hurt falling backwards off a chair.
“My concern is that there are professional people who are having pressures placed on them to create ambiguity for the police. Kenya is a lovely place on one level, but it’s a police state on another.
“This is where my fears are about this is where this inquest might be going, that they will create sufficient smoke that they can create a let-out clause for the police and conclude it’s not worth going ahead with a prosecution.”
The inquest, which is being held to determine whether there is enough evidence to proceed with a criminal trial for individual officers, will hear testimony in Mombasa until Thursday.