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How former judge drew woman’s Will, took over vast estate

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What would unite a Nazi era war criminal, a polio-ravaged unmarried mother and retired Kenya High Court judge running away from the law?

The answer to this question is hidden in personal vaults, archives and files in numerous courts of law and tomes in Britain, Germany, France and Kenya.

Camouflaged by cobwebs of history, legalese and frailty of the human mind are slivers of truths and half-truths spanning over 90 years and intertwined with the second World War, the Mau Mau liberation struggle and events in post-Independent Kenya. It is the story of a World War heroine-turned-villain and a retired judge.

But the central planks in this multi-layered cloak-and-dagger antics are a pioneer medical doctor, Anne Marie-Spoerry, her 68-year-old adopted daughter Rosemary Wamuyu Wachira and a retired High Court Judge, John Philip Ransley.

Spoerry, who died on February 6, 1999, lived in Kenya for most of her adult life. She was known initially for saving the colonial settlers and their workers in the White Highlands and fighting the Mau Mau as a police reservist.Later, she dedicated her resources to saving ailing children in remote parts of Kenya as a flying doctor working under African Medical Research Foundation.

All this time, she was a declared war criminal in Europe, wanted for sending thousands of prisoners to the gas chambers in Ravensbrück, a Nazi concentration camp during the Second World War.Consequently, she was hunted by veterans in France and was banned from practicing medicine there after being denied a chance to complete her medical studies.

The current saga started a few days after Spoerry’s death which marked the end of a dark era which she had guarded all her life.

A few hours after Spoerry was buried on February 12, 1999 in Shella Beach, Lamu, Rosemary flew back to Nairobi then went to Muringa farm in Subukia where she had spent her life with Spoerry.

Agreement

The following morning, Justice (Rtd) Ransley contacted her and other relatives of Spoerry and announced that there would be a meeting on February 20 and he would disclose the contents of the Will.

That was also to be the day Rosemary was kicked out of Spoerry’s home.It would later emerge that Ransley had drawn a Will on May 23, 1993 which appointed him the trustee and executioner of the estate.

Parts of the Will read: “I revoke all former testamentary dispositions relating to the estate. I appoint Philip John Ransley of Po Box 1021 Nairobi (hereinafter in such capacity called my trustee) to be the executor and trustee thereof. I give all my property whether immovable or movable or personal unto my trustee upon trust to sell the same and having paid all my debts and testamentary expenses and death duties if any.”

In the Will, Spoerry dictated that the residue of her estate be allocated to her brother, Francois Spoerry of France and sisters Therese Pont and Martine Gross all of France in equal shares. Interestingly Francois had already died on January 11, 1999 and in fact Spoerry had attended his burial in France.

The Will also decreed that the executor was entitled to the usual professional fee and would be paid for any time spent administering Spoerry’s estate.In March 1999, when Ransley filed succession case no 544 of 1999, he listed Spoerry’s known assets as 10 pieces of land in Lamu, and a 2.6 acre estate in Muthaiga Nairobi, another estate in Nakuru as well as money in two bank accounts.

Justice (rtd) Philip Ransley. [Amos Kareithii and File, Standard]

Although shortly before her death, Spoerry had renewed her flying licence, curiously missing from the inventory of assets was the beloved aircraft in which she had flown over 8,000 hours some of it over France and Greece.

According to the Certificate of Confirmation of a grant dated November 19, 1999, Ransley was listed as heir with absolute shares to 15 developed plots in Lamu and four other pieces of land in Nairobi and Nakuru.

The inventory also indicated that Ransely had inherited two bank accounts at Credit Agricole Indosuez, two accounts at Barclays Bank and two more at Kenya Commercial  bank.At the same time, the retired judge was the new owner of two vintage vehicles a Volkswagen Beetle and a Vauxhall saloon, two Peugeot 205 saloons and one Nisan Patrol car.

According to some of the court documents, the total value of the assets was given as Sh10 million.Armed with the Will, Ransley went about selling some of the doctor’s assets, touching off a bitter legal battle with Rosemary who insists the Will was forged and has vowed to have it revoked.

On February 21, 2003, Ransley, who by then had been appointed as a judge of the High Court, entered into an agreement to sell to Chui Estates Limited 2.6 acres of land in Nairobi registered in the name of Dr Anne Marie Spoerry for Sh13 million.

Rosemary is bitter that besides being locked out of the Will, Ransley has ended up as a beneficiary of two pieces of land she had bought with her money.In her autobiography: They Call Me Mama Daktari: Anne Spoerry, published in 1994, the doctor explains the circumstances under which she became acquainted with Rosemary in 1963 and how she assisted Rosemary, who was crippled by polio, to acquire the land.

Spoerry wrote: “Today Rosemary is nearly 40. I knew her first as a little girl handicapped by polio. I looked after her and saw her through school where she received her primary leaving certificate. She then attended Young Women Christian Association of Limuru where she learnt dressmaking, First Aid and cookery.”

“Rosemary inherited one of these plots but she had to fight tooth and nail to keep it. I supported her claim of ownership but at that time there were no clear legislation on women’s right to property. In order to make Rosemary feel more secure, I built her a little house. Then Rosemary acquired some more fields of her own with her own money and ended up with a nice five-acre property.”

Ironically, the parcels of land Spoerry fought so hard for her adopted daughter to acquire have been sold after they were included in the inventory of assets presented during Ransley’s succession petition.

“There is something wrong with the Will. It must be revoked. Not only is the signature wrong but the inclusion of my property in the inventory of my adopted mother’s estate  is weird.  One of the plots in Subukia has been sold although I still have the original title deed,” Rosemary adds.

And for 22 years since Spoerry’s death, Rosemary says she has been battling to safeguard her property.Her last hopes were dashed by High Court Judge D O Ohunge on April 30, 2019 when he ruled that the sale of her land through public auction was legal and that she should remove the caveat she had placed on it at the Ministry of Lands to facilitate its transfer to one Michael Kinyanjui.

Ransley retired as a judge in 2007 and started his law firm Ransley McVicker Shaw Advocates. He however fled to England after he was charged for allegedly stealing Sh102.7 million from Angela Scott and Sh152.7 million from Rowland Minns.

The High Court at Milimani also issued a warrant for his arrest on January 21, 2017 and the Director of Public Prosecutions initiated proceedings to have the judge who is now aged 87 extradited from United Kingdom so he could face trial. This matter has since been settled out of court.

By Standard


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Paul Walker’s heartbreaking autopsy and grim details that aroused daughter’s suspicions

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Seven years ago today, Hollywood actor Paul Walker had enjoyed a fun-filled day with friends at a charity fundraiser in Los Angeles. Little did the Fast and Furious star know that when he agreed to take a spin in friend Roger Rodas’ 2005 Porsche Carrera GT, the ride would be his last.

The car ploughed into a concrete lamppost at high speed, tearing the vehicle almost in half and killing both Paul, 40, and Roger in an inferno of mangled wreckage. Helpless witnesses tried to extinguish the molten fireball that enveloped the car, but the flames could not be stopped. Given the horror of the crash, many believed father-of-one Paul must have been killed instantly.

But his autopsy revealed a heartbreaking fact – traces of soot were found in Paul’s windpipe, meaning he’d still been breathing as the fire raged. Furthermore, the report detailed how Paul’s body was so badly burned that he could only be identified by dental records and his charred organs were too damaged for donation. Meanwhile, Roger’s skull was fractured and the top part missing, leaving his brain exposed.

Paul Walker and his daughter Meadow. (Courtesy)

The coroner found no evidence of drink or drug use and recorded a verdict of death by “combined effects of traumatic and thermal injuries.” But Paul’s daughter Meadow didn’t agree and filed a wrongful death lawsuit against Porsche, claiming her father initially survived the crash and could have escaped but was trapped by his seatbelt.

According to the lawsuit, which was obtained by TMZ and vigorously contested by Porsche, Paul was alive for one minute and 20 seconds after impact but couldn’t get out because the seatbelt “snapped Walker’s torso back with thousands of pounds of force, thereby breaking his ribs and pelvis”.!

Lawyers claimed it had taken a whole minute for the fire to break out, giving Paul ample time to make his escape. They also alleged the car lacked sufficient door reinforcements and that manufacturers hadn’t used fuel lines that break free to prevent a fire in a crash.

The lawsuit claimed: “Absent these defects in the Porsche Carrera GT, Paul Walker would be alive today.”

But Porsche defended itself stating Paul was a “knowledgeable and sophisticated user” of the sports car and argued: “The perils, risk, and danger were open and obvious and known to him, and he chose to conduct himself in a manner so as to expose himself to such perils, dangers, and risks, thus assuming all the risks involved in using the vehicle.”

The battle was resolved in 2017 when the wrongful death lawsuit was withdrawn and a settlement reached although the terms have never been disclosed.

By Standard.co.ke


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Lupita, others pay tribute to Chadwick Boseman on what would have been his 44th birthday

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Oscar award winning actress Lupita Nyong’o is among celebrities and fans who paid tribute to late actor Chadwick Boseman on his would be 44th birthday.

The Black Panther star was 43 when he lost his four-year battle with colon cancer on August 28, 2020

Boseman was diagnosed with stage three colon cancer in 2016, according to a post on his Twitter account announcing the actor’s death.

Lupita, who played Boseman’s love interest in the “Black Panther”, shared a picture of herself and Boseman with the caption, “Deeply loved, sorely missed. #ChadwickBoseman.”

Disney honoured Boseman with a “Black Panther” themed Marvel Studios logo.

The redesigned logo could be seen by those watching “Black Panther” on Disney’s streaming platform, Disney+.

Marvel Studios further shared a video of the logo on Twitter.

Disney honoured Boseman with a “Black Panther” themed Marvel Studios logo.

The redesigned logo could be seen by those watching “Black Panther” on Disney’s streaming platform, Disney+.

Marvel Studios further shared a video of the logo on Twitter.

Actor and producer Mark Ruffalo shared a behind-the-scenes video of the cast and crew singing happy birthday to Boseman during the filming of a Marvel film. “Happy Birthday”, he captioned the video, “Thinking of your passion, love, and your light today @chadwickboseman Happy Birthday. Wishing we could time travel back to this moment.”

Rapper and actor Common tweeted “Happy Birthday King. God Bless You. Thank you for using your gift to bring light to this world. RIP.”

Many others also wished the late actor a happy birthday posthumously.


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Shock as more teenagers are caught up in crime

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As Kenyans were waiting for the launch of BBI signatures collection drive, a tragic and bizarre thing happened in Kamuyu location, Machakos County.

A Class Eight pupil at Kaitha Primary School strangled her classmate to death in a suspected love triangle.

The girl who is currently in custody awaiting a mental assessment before being arraigned on Tuesday, allegedly undressed her victim to make it look like a rape after strangling her using a brown rope.

She then tucked the rope in an envelope before hiding it in a bush a few metres away from her parents’ home. The suspected murderer is 14, her victim was 15 and the boy in the middle of the love triangle 14.

“The suspect pointed out the murder weapon, a strong rope, brown in colour, which was about 150 metres away from the crime scene. The rope was hidden under dry thorny bushes after she used it to strangle the deceased,” said a police statement about the murder that has left the residents of Mwala in shock.

Committing crimes

A shocking as it is, what is of concern is not the just fact that a 14-year-old girl killed another because of a boy who was having a relationship with both of them. It is the fact that the incident happened when the whole country is witnessing a surge in incidents of minors committing crimes.

This week alone, police have arrested 105 teenagers while partying, smoking, drinking and engaging in sex orgies.

Since the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic, records at the Directorate of Criminal Investigations (DCI) show that 242 youth have been arrested in various towns engaging in such parties. Kisii, Homa Bay, Mararal, Nairobi, Kisumu, Webuye and Nairobi lead the country in having such parties.

And as if it not bad enough, the parties are taking place when everyone is supposed to be practising social distancing and the sale of alcohol and cigarettes is prohibited to anyone who is under 18.

What is giving law enforcement agencies sleepless nights is that there are adults luring and facilitating the youth to engage in such risky behaviours.

“It is unfortunate that such individuals are doing so not only in contravention of the law, but also ignoring the impact of their actions on the lives of minors,” said DCI George Kinoti.

“Anyone found guilty of an offence of child pornography and upon conviction will be liable to imprisonment for a term of not less than six years or to a fine of not less than five hundred thousand shillings or both.”

Trafficking ring

Last weekend, Kenyans were shocked when seven teenage girls who had been reported missing by their parents in Komarock in Nairobi emerged from their hideout only to say they had been bored and sought to have some fun.

As detectives continue to pursue a suspected online trafficking ring dubbed Carty Gang, who they think lured the girls from their homes, the Sunday Nation has been told that the group usually hosts teen parties in Athi River or Obama Estate along Kangundo Road.

Teenagers are usually baited with images of previous parties on the group’s Instagram page, whose content has since been erased. The group, whose owners have not yet been found, has even offered a form of apology, which is the only thing remaining on the page.

“We would like to apologise to our fans for the inconveniences from the media,” says the group administrator.

The DCI insists it is only a matter of time before the owners of the group are arrested. The reality is that there are several adults operating alone or in groups facilitating minors to engage in vice. What is not known is how worse the situation can get.

Additionally, if you consider the number of youth who have been arrested since the beginning of the year for engaging in such risky behaviour then the problem shifts from just being a criminal matter to a moral one.

Gengetone genre

While reacting to degenerate behaviour of the youth, Kenya Film Classification Board CEO Ezekiel Mutua blamed the content of today’s Kenyan pop music specifically the new Gengetone genre.

The genre, which emerged from the low-income areas of Nairobi, has in the last year become very popular among the youth with its explicit lyrics that promote promiscuity, partying, use of drugs and alcohol.

“We can’t afford to be neutral on moral issues and bad content. We can only help our youths by telling them the truth. If we fumble or become ambiguous we will confuse them. Deep down their hearts, they know they are doing wrong,” said Dr Mutua on his Twitter account.

“Artistes and the media must understand that they have the power to shape societal norms, values and character. They must behave responsibly and professionally.”

Dr Mutua who has on several occasions found himself on the wrong end for pushing for the pulling down of certain songs that he sees have crossed the red line may be right. Several studies have shown that the more importance youth place on a type of music, the more they pay attention to the lyrics.

In addition to the effect content aired by the media has on the youth, experts say the behaviour of adults also greatly influences how teenagers figure out what is wrong or right.

“The way we behave as a society plays a big role in moulding the character of children as they grow up. If for example, teenagers find crime or murder as the most prevalent thing around them, they accept it as normal and with time they start indulging in it,” says Dr Philomena Ndambuki of Kenyatta University.

“A person’s brain fully matures when they are 25. Before that what the person consumes from the adults around them will be given out as output,” she says.

The Machakos murder is not an isolated incident, continuing a trend, which peaked between 2018 and 2019 when hardly a month would pass before the country would be shocked with a riveting murder tale involving adults.

Three weeks ago, a 17-year-old boy stabbed a 20-year-old man during a fight over a woman at Ndiru Trading Centre in Rangwe, Homa Bay County, for allegedly sleeping with his wife. The encounter degenerated into a fight.

During the argument, the boy who was armed with a knife overpowered the man stabbing him twice on the back.

He then disappeared into the night and was arrested the next day from his parents’ house. Bunde can count himself lucky to be alive today after getting caught up in a love triangle with the 17-year-old boy with his wife.

by NN


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