Kenyan kidnappings: Hotel worker sentenced to death over brutal raid on British tourists

Ali Babitu Kololo was found guilty of robbery with violence and kidnapping with intent to cause murder over the brutal 2011 raid

A hotel worker who helped in an attack which left a British man dead and his wife kidnapped was today sentenced to death.

Ali Babitu Kololo led a gang of Somali pirates to the cabin of Judith Tebbutt, 58, at the luxury Kiwayu Safari Village resort in Kenya.

Judith’s husband David, also 58, was shot dead as he tried to protect her.

She was taken by boat to Somalia where she was held for more than six months before being freed.

Kololo was found guilty of robbery with violence and kidnapping with intent to cause murder over the raid in September 2011.

But it is unlikely he will be executed as Kenya stopped capital punishment. Instead the 27-year-old Muslim will spend the rest of his life in jail.

Dad-of-two Kololo shook silently in the dock as he was sentenced by magistrate ­Johnstone Munguti at a court in the coastal town of Lamu.

He is the first person to be convicted over Judith’s kidnapping and David’s death.

Mr Munguti told him: “I must tell you I am obliged by the laws of Kenya to sentence you to suffer death for the first count, that is for robbery with violence.

“For the second count I sentence you to seven years in prison.”

The Foreign Office said: “We welcome efforts by the Kenyan authorities to bring those responsible for the kidnap and murder to justice.

“Today’s news is a positive development, but of course the wider Kenyan investigations continue.

“While Kololo received a death sentence, in practice it is expected Kenya will want to maintain its defacto moratorium on the death penalty which has been in place since 1987.

“As is well known, the UK opposes the death penalty.”

Scotland Yard played a role in the conviction. It sent a team of Met officers to help detectives in Kenya. There were also reports that British special forces had been drafted in.

Social worker Judith and publishing executive David, from Bishop’s Stortford, Herts, were enjoying a holiday when a gang of six men burst into their secluded beach cottage in the early hours of the morning.

Kololo, who had worked at the resort, was arrested the day after the attack.

He admitted helping lead the thugs to the couple’s cottage but claimed he did so under duress after he too was abducted by the gang.

Addressing the court in mitigation, he said: “I have left everything to God. I abide by your decision.

“I did not participate in the attack. The prosecution framed me.”

Kenyan police are continuing to investigate the raid but fear it could be difficult to track suspects who are believed to be still in Somalia.

This month, Judith published a book about her terrifying abduction and time as a hostage.

In A Long Walk Home she told how she believed Kololo was partly responsible for what happened to her.

Judith wrote: “Ali Babitu Kololo was not among the five men who took me off Kiwayu in a skiff.

“But if he is found guilty of the crime for which he stands accused then he is deeply complicit. Things would not have happened as they did had the pirates not been guided around the island as they evidently were.”

The death penalty is a source of controversy in Kenya, where human rights campaigners want it abolished.

Original Article