Freedom for convicted Kenyan aristocrat

NAIROBI: A white Kenyan aristocrat convicted of the manslaughter of a black poacher on his estate has been freed five months into an eight-month prison sentence.

Thomas Cholmondeley was convicted in May for shooting Robert Njoya in 2006, having spent the previous three years in jail awaiting trial.

He was released for good behaviour and because he had less than six months to serve, prison officials said. Njoya's widow was reported as saying said she could not believe he was free. At the trial, the judge cut the murder charge to manslaughter, saying Cholmondeley did not show "malice aforethought".

The Eton-educated 40-year-old shot Njoya who had been hunting on Cholmondeley's 55,000-acre Soysambu ranch near Lake Naivasha in Kenya's Great Rift Valley.

Widow Serah Njoya said: "I can't believe that he is free. There is nothing I can do. This is beyond me," AFP news agency reported her as saying.

The case, involving the great-grandson of the third Baron Delamere, one of Kenya's first major white settlers more than a century ago, attracted huge media attention.

The killing was the second time in just over a year that Cholmondeley had fatally shot a black man.

In 2005 Cholmondeley admitted shooting a Maasai ranger, but the case was dropped owing to insufficient evidence. That decision provoked outrage and mass protests among the Maasai community.