A former Kenyan hotel worker was today charged over the abduction of British tourist Judith Tebbutt and the shooting of her husband David.
Ali Babitu Kololo, the 25 year-old father of three, appeared in court on the island of Lamu charged with kidnapping and violent robbery.
David and Judith Tebbutt were attacked on September 11 during their holiday at a remote Kenyan luxury beach resort
Prosecutors said they believed Ali Babitu Kololo was part of a gang of six armed with AK-47 rifles who burst into the Tebbutts’ beach cottage at the Kiwayu Safari Village near the border with Somalia.
It is alleged that Ali Babitu Kololo and his unidentified alleged accomplices then stole a handbag, cash and passports from the couple before shooting dead David Tebbutt, 58, and kidnapping his 56 year-old wife, Judith Tebbutt.
Today Kololo, admitted in the court he had led the raiders to the site in the moments before the midnight attack.
But the worker claimed he did so only after the gang of unidentified Somali criminals held him up at gunpoint.
Kololo claimed the raiders drove him first to the town of Odo in Somalia last Saturday before sailing out to sea and ordering him to direct them after dark to the hotel where he had previously been employed as a maintenance worker.
“The men found me as I was cutting down trees in the forest. I was with a colleague but he ran away and the gunmen abducted me. They took me to Odo and from there the hijackers took me deep out in the sea with a boat.
“At around 11pm they took me towards the hotel. They were armed and forced me to show them the way.”
Kololo admitted he had directed the gang to the Kiwayu hotel, which lies around 30 miles from Somalia.
But he told the court that at that stage he did not know the Tebbutts had checked into the resort and said he neither entered the couple’s cottage nor heard the fatal gunshot which killed David Tebbutt.
Ali Babitu Kololo claimed he fled his captors as they landed on the beach before handing himself into police the following day.
“When we landed on the beach it was dark and I ran away into the bushes. They would have killed me had I refused to go with them and I did what I did to save my own life.
“I’m not a bad man. If I was I would not have surrendered to police and informed them.”
Kololo’s statement about his actions on the night of September is the most vivid description yet of the moments before the Tebbutts were attacked.
David and Judith Tebbutt were from Bishop’s Stortford in Hertfordshire and had arrived at the Kiwayu Safari village just hours before the pirates struck.
David Tebbutt, a publishing executive, died in the grass-woven beach hut after being shot in the chest as he apparently resisted the group.
Judith Tebbutt, a deaf social worker, was then bundled into a boat which headed towards Somalia.
Ali Babitu Kololo was arrested on September 11and today pleaded not guilty to both charges against him but was remanded in custody.
The two counts, which do not include murder, represent the state’s belief that Ali Babitu Kololo was involved in the death of David Tebbutt but not necessarily that he was himself directly responsible for the murder.
Speaking afterwards, Ali Babitu Kololo claimed he had been tortured by police.
“They beat and tortured me. They hit my manhood and they beat my stomach.
“Then they refused to let me go to the hospital. They want me to admit that I am guilty but I am innocent so that is something I could never do.”
The suspect was ordered to reappear for a further hearing on October 25.
Ali Babitu Kololo’s lawyer George Wakahiu later said he planned to apply for bail.