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Questions still unanswered on student's death in Kenya

By Western Morning News  |  Posted: September 29, 2012

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A lacklustre local police investigation has failed to solve the mystery surrounding the death of a trainee doctor found with his throat cut in the locked room of a farmhouse in Kenya.

Paul Monk, from Falmouth, was discovered with a fatal neck wound and numerous wrist wounds, while he was taking a year out from his studies, in February 2009.

A suicide note was present, but his family said the 24-year-old had recently made enemies in Africa and there were many unanswered questions.

Investigations by Kenyan police produced a single page report, a hand drawing of the scene and absolutely no forensic evidence.

At an inquest in Truro, Deputy Cornwall Coroner Andrew Cox, said he had no choice but to record an open verdict.

After the hearing, which was attended by dozens of friends and family, Mr Monk's mother, Deborah Wetherell, said they were "relieved" the matter had come to a close, but still didn't know what to make of the events surrounding her son's death.

"I couldn't tell you what I think," she said. "I have been there and back and I don't know what to think."

The inquest heard that Mr Monk was four years into a medical degree at Bristol University when he took a year off to help research into the effects of post-traumatic stress on former child soldiers in Uganda.

Detective Inspector Stuart Ellis, who led a British investigation, told the hearing that Mr Monk's research was well received, but his stay in Uganda was cut short after an altercation in a bar with a man who had tried to extract money from Mr Monk and involved a solicitor in his quest.

As a result, Mr Monk decided to leave Uganda and crossed into Kenya, where he stayed at a farm outside Mombasa.

A few days after he arrived, he met a young woman and spent the night with her, but there was an altercation and the authorities became involved. Two days later, Mr Monk's body was found in his locked room.

A post-mortem conducted six weeks later by Home Office pathologist Gyan Fernando concluded that Mr Monk's wrist wounds were self-inflicted and although the fatal neck wound was not "textbook" self-inflicted, he couldn't rule it out.

Mr Cox said there was not enough evidence to conclude that Mr Monk's death was a result of unlawful killing or by his own hand.

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