On the streets of Mombasa, the mercury will contact 32c (90f). Inside the trendy legislation chambers the air-con might be working time beyond regulation — however the environment might be as oppressive.

For 9 torturous years, following the dying of his son Alexander in police custody, Lord (Nicholas) Monson of Burton has fought to convey his alleged murderers to justice, with out ever seeing them within the flesh.

In Court docket No.1 at 9am on Monday, nonetheless, the 66-year-old aristocrat will finally flip his gaze on Sergeant Naftali Chege, retired Chief Inspector Charles Wangombe Munyiri and constables John Pamba and Ishmael Baraka Bulima, as they file into the dock for the denouement of a stop-start trial that has dragged on agonisingly since 2018. 

By the top of the day, Lord Monson mustn’t solely know whether or not a number of of those males — who’ve remained free on bail and, for a very long time, continued to serve within the Kenyan Police — are responsible of bludgeoning Alexander to dying after his arrest for a minor drug offence. 

Ought to they be convicted he may hear the choose, Justice Eric Ogola — a fiercely unbiased determine — sentence them to hold. As this scion of one in every of England’s oldest noble households informed me in an unique interview this week, it is going to be a second that stirs seismic emotions.

A second he was repeatedly warned he would by no means see throughout an extended and harmful battle in opposition to one of many world’s most ruthless and corrupt police forces. ‘I anticipate the sheer emotion and drama of simply seeing these b******s’ head to head might be fairly extraordinary,’ he says, the anticipation glinting in his eyes.

For nine torturous years, following the death of his son Alexander in police custody, Lord (Nicholas) Monson of Burton (left) has fought to bring his alleged murderers to justice, without ever seeing them in the flesh

For 9 torturous years, following the dying of his son Alexander in police custody, Lord (Nicholas) Monson of Burton (left) has fought to convey his alleged murderers to justice, with out ever seeing them within the flesh

‘Many informed me I used to be losing my time, taking over the Kenyan police in their very own nation. It has taken a heavy toll on my well being [doctors say his heart has weakened and he suffers bouts of depression] and it has price me tens of hundreds.

‘However I wasn’t about to surrender and see the boys who did this to Alexander stroll away.’

With a lineage courting again to the Hundred Years Struggle, his privileged upbringing and Eton training, Lord Monson doesn’t match the stereotypical mould of a justice campaigner pitted in opposition to the forces of legislation and order. Many may also think about him to have large monetary assets and associates in excessive locations.

However titles may be misleading. In fact, by dint of household variations, he’s a person of restricted means.

Not having inherited the Lincolnshire lands left by his late father, the eleventh Baron Monson, he and third spouse Silvana, reside largely off earnings from a boutique guesthouse in Stratford-upon-Avon and reside in a one-bedroom flat above a printer’s store, in South-West London.

Nor does he sit within the Home of Lords, for the Monson seat, conferred in 1728, fell sufferer to Tony Blair’s cull of hereditary peerages through the late Nineteen Nineties.

Alexander (pictured) went to a school for dyslexics (a condition inherited from his father) before going to Marlborough College

Alexander (pictured) went to a college for dyslexics (a situation inherited from his father) earlier than going to Marlborough School

Certainly when, in desperation, he sought the British Institution’s assist in bringing Alexander’s alleged killers to account, he received quick shrift. He claims one well-known former authorities minister sneered: ‘What do you anticipate us to do? Ship gunboats to Mombasa?’ The recommendation from the British Excessive Fee in Nairobi was that he ought to take a ‘softly-softly’ method. ‘I replied, “No, I’ll go in bloody laborious”.’

He anticipated help from Kenya’s Unbiased Policing Oversight Authority — arrange ten years in the past and funded with British abroad assist — for investigating Alexander’s dying was its very first activity, and considered a litmus take a look at of its effectiveness.

But all it did was shield the accused officers and perpetuate the parable they promulgated: {that a} medicine overdose killed Alexander. It’s ironic that, although his marketing campaign has fallen on deaf ears in Britain, it has made Lord Monson a hero to many peculiar Kenyans of their battle in opposition to police corruption and brutality.

They’ll categorical their admiration volubly when the person they affectionately name ‘Mister Lordy Monson’ steps off the aircraft at Mombasa airport, at lunchtime in the present day.

Banner-waving human rights activists plan to kind a guard of honour within the terminal. For in Kenya, the 100,000-strong police service is despised and feared in equal measure; a paramilitary power, a lot of whose members extort, subjugate, torture and kill with impunity.

The 54 million inhabitants reside in concern of being hauled off the streets and compelled to pay bribes. Statistics reveal the destiny of those that resist: final yr, 167 individuals have been killed or ‘disappeared’ in police custody.

Nevertheless, in keeping with Francis Auma, a human rights campaigner in Mombasa, issues have improved — if solely ‘barely’ — in recent times; and by displaying that the police may be dropped at account, Lord Monson has made a big contribution to the clean-up. ‘The entire nation might be watching out for his case, as a result of it would present how far we’ve got come,’ Mr Auma informed me.

But as Lord Monson watches proceedings, flanked by ex-wife Hilary — who settled in a seashore resort close to Mombasa after they divorced 30 years in the past and with whom Alexander was staying when he died — he might replicate on the occasions that led him to this drab, post-colonial courthouse, 4,500 miles from London.

On the time of Alexander’s start in 1987, he was working irregular hours as a journalist on The Instances, so spent quite a lot of time taking care of him. They developed an amazing bond, strained solely briefly throughout his son’s turbulent adolescence.

Alexander went to a college for dyslexics (a situation inherited from his father) earlier than going to Marlborough School. Like his great-grandfather, who was commissioned to color the younger Queen Elizabeth’s portrait, he was a proficient artist and gained a scholarship at Chelsea Artwork School. Lord Monson hoped he may make this his profession, however Alexander drifted by means of his 20s and, months earlier than his dying, decamped to Kenya, the place his sister Isabella, 35, an promoting copywriter, additionally lived.

His mom gave him some land and he deliberate to domesticate a industrial bamboo plantation. Whereas many British ex-pats maintain to their very own circle in Kenya, he fell in with a gaggle of native associates.

As his father says: ‘He didn’t have any sort of snobbish factor about him. The truth is, he abhorred the concept of privilege. He was immensely personable and likeable and he had sufficient savoir faire to combine simply in any milieu.’

He was out socialising with these associates at a beach-front restaurant when he was arrested, within the early hours of Saturday, Could 19, 2012. Later that morning Lord Monson, who was staying on the Costa del Sol, obtained a telephone name as he performed Scrabble along with his Brazilian third spouse and associates. His son had died, apparently from a drug overdose, he was informed.

In the dock: The four police officers accused of killing Alexander Monson

Within the dock: The 4 law enforcement officials accused of killing Alexander Monson

He suspected this to be unfaithful from the outset. For, as Alexander’s associates confirmed, although he smoked pot, he was not a hard-drug person. After scrambling a flight to Kenya 48 hours later, he started piecing collectively the actual story.

Owing to Kenya’s laborious justice system, and the local weather of concern and secrecy that protects rogue Kenyan law enforcement officials, it has but to be informed overtly in full.

However with the assistance of an inside supply and the painstaking work of British consultants — amongst them a barrister and a number one forensic doctor — Lord Monson believes he has a good suggestion of what occurred.

His marketing campaign has taken him to Kenya a number of occasions and the authorities haven’t welcomed his vocal presence. He was as soon as arrested at gunpoint for merely taking a photograph of the police station the place Alexander died; he has been adopted by a shadowy determine and warned to go away the nation as a result of the police ‘had plans’ for him if he continued to make waves.

There have been different disquieting occurrences. An out of doors police officer deployed to research the episode died in a automotive crash, as an example, simply hours after starting his project.

Then there was the deeply suspicious dying of Kenya’s deputy president and safety minister, George Saitoti.

He was killed whereas travelling in a police helicopter which blew up in mid-air and crashed into the mountains. Simply ten days earlier, he had met Lord Monson in his Nairobi workplace and pledged to prosecute Alexander’s killers and purge the police of corruption.Coincidences? Maybe, however Lord Monson isn’t so positive.

He factors out the notorious case of a Kenyan human rights lawyer representing a person who claimed to have been shot by the police. In 2016, each the lawyer and his consumer have been killed and flung right into a crocodile-infested river.

5 years later, the 4 officers accused of murdering them nonetheless await trial. ‘We’re getting into a universe to which you and I aren’t privy, however the information are there,’ he says grimly.

‘Tangling with the Kenyan police is like Mississippi Burning, however ten occasions worse. They’re just like the Mafia. Mombasa is the most important port on the East African coast for heroin and cocaine smuggling and the police take their lower. They don’t take kindly to individuals making an attempt to scrub up their corruption.’

Marijuana use is commonplace in Kenya, so even when Alexander was smoking a joint that night time, his arrest was uncommon. He was picked up with a good friend who was freed after apparently being bailed out by his father. However Alexander was held within the cells.

The next morning, when a household good friend arrived, he discovered the younger man slumped unconscious beneath the cost desk. No person appeared very bothered. His bank card and telephone have been lacking.

Claiming he had taken an overdose, the accused officers reluctantly agreed to take him — nonetheless handcuffed — to hospital. There he was shackled to the mattress. Had the medical workers turned him over, they might have seen the foremost wound on the again of his head. He died hours later, along with his mom clutching his manacled hand.

An post-mortem confirmed that his dying was attributable to a ‘blunt power trauma’, a view backed up in 2018 at a belated inquest, elicited after unremitting stress from Lord Monson and Alexander’s mom (who has additionally campaigned tirelessly on his behalf).

His testicles have been so badly bruised that they had turned black. Ludicrously, one police witness advised this may need been attributable to Alexander having ‘vigorous’ intercourse. He additionally had a wound to his left arm, presumed to have been inflicted as he tried vainly to guard himself.

When Kenyan law enforcement officials extort cash from uncooperative victims, Lord Monson has found, the usual process is to kick them within the groin in order that they bend over double, then beat them over the top with a rifle butt or heavy truncheon.

The 4 officers have been charged with homicide on the advice of Richard Odenyo, the Justice of the Peace who presided over the inquest. He mentioned they have been the ‘prime suspects’ and there was adequate proof to attempt them.

‘There have been makes an attempt from a number of witnesses herein to obfuscate the information surrounding the dying,’ Odenyo noticed, including that Alexander had been in good well being when he was booked into the police station at 2.30am and that his life was ‘lower quick by the illegal actions of others whereas within the custody of police’.

Legal proceedings in Kenya undergo three phases. Firstly, the prosecution should show there’s a affordable case to reply. Secondly, the defence proof is heard. Thirdly the choose, who sits and not using a jury, reads his verdict and sentence. Since an try by the 4 law enforcement officials’ legal professionals to have the case thrown out has failed, the third and remaining stage has finally been reached.

So, on Monday, Lord Monson ought to hear exactly how, and by whom, his son’s deadly accidents have been inflicted. Painful as that might be, nonetheless, if the officers are discovered responsible of homicide and sentenced to hold, he’ll attraction for his or her lives to be spared.

Although the dying penalty has not been carried out in Kenya since 1987 (when two coup plotters have been despatched to the gallows for treason) it stays on the statute books and it’s not uncommon for it to be handed down.

Nevertheless, Lord Monson, whose youthful son Rupert, 21, dedicated suicide 5 years in the past throughout a psychotic episode evidently induced by his dependancy to skunk hashish, explains his rationale. The 2 younger constables — who served as Alexander’s cell guards — deserve clemency, he avers, as they might have confronted extreme reprisals for failing to hold out their orders.

As for the 2 superior officers, he would sooner they spent the remainder of their days rotting in one in every of Kenya’s infamous prisons. ‘I consider dying as everlasting peace. Why ought to these brutes in uniform have that?

‘After what they did to Alexander, I’d quite they lived and suffered,’ he says — readying himself for that second, 9 lengthy years within the making, when he can look them squarely within the eyes.