The wife of a former Parachute Regiment officer who was hacked to death in Kenya has described his killers as ‘evil’ and called his murder ‘senseless’.
Nature reserve manager Lt Col David Parkinson, 58, was killed by five robbers at the remote home he shared with his wife Sonja on Sunday morning in Lolldaiga Hills, near Mount Kenya National Park.
Mrs Parkinson 52, managed to escape and barricade herself in the house’s panic room. Lt Col Parkinson is believed to have bled to death during the raid in which the armed gang stole a laptop, $3 and bottles of wine.
Speaking about her husband’s death for the first time today, Mrs Parkinson told the Daily Telegraph: ‘David was brutally killed in the most senseless way.’
She also described her husband as ‘a good man’ and ‘a loving husband ‘ and said the men who killed him posed a serious threat to other people.
Describing his work in conservation and training in Kenya, she said: ‘His activities have resulted in direct improvements to the lives and skills of many in the surrounding community.
‘They too are telling us that his loss is also their loss and that they too are sharing our pain.’
Despite her husband’s death, Mrs Parkinson said she intends to remain in Kenya.
A local man has been detained and questioned over the attack on the Parkinsons but has not been formally arrested in connection with Sunday’s break-in.
The couple were asleep when the robbers smashed their way into their bedroom and demanded money and guns.
Mrs Parkinson was tied up and threatened and her husband attacked as he fought to defend her.
Police believe he may have been knocked unconscious before being struck with broad-bladed machetes, known locally as pangas.
Lt Co Parkinson, from Brighton. East Sussex, was formerly a director of Lewa Wildlife Conservancy in Kenya, where Prince William spent part of his gap year.
He was awarded an OBE in 1998 for his military service.
Police said there were parallels with the robbery and a raid on the home of another former British army officer and his wife in the region in June.
Two men are expected to face trial for that attack, but two other raiders had not been traced.
Last night, Kenyan police said the retired soldier’s hand was cut off as he struggled with the intruders in order to give his wife enough time to reach safety.
Local police chief Maurice Tum said the robbers gained entry by smashing the windows and ordered Lt Col Parkinson to hand over money and guns.
He added: ‘A fight ensured between the men and the soldier and they cut off his left hand and left him bleeding profusely.
‘The wife hid in the strong room. It was this decision which saved her. She came out and found her bleeding husband and contacted the police.’
Lt Col Parkinson, who served in the Army for 30 years, became manager of the ranch after leaving Lewa in 2008.
Before taking up his place at St Andrews University, Prince William spent his gap year at Lewa, helping with various conservation projects.
In 2010, he and Kate holidayed there, staying in a secluded rustic log cabin where William proposed.
The Duchess said: ‘He’s a true romantic and we had a wonderful holiday in Africa. It was very romantic and it was a very personal time for both of us.’
Last night the Duke of Cambridge, who is a patron of Lewa, said he was ‘saddened’ to hear about Lt Col Parkinson’s death.
Murdered former Lt Col, David Parkinson interviewed in Kenya
A friend and neighbour said: ‘He was very dynamic, doing an amazing job in Lolldaiga for both conservation and the community. He was a very well-liked man.’
Lt Col Parkinson joined the Army in 1973 after graduating from the Royal Military Academy at Sandhurst.
‘A fight ensured between the men and the soldier and they cut off his left hand and left him bleeding profusely’
Maurice Tum, local Kenyan police chief
Known to his fellow soldiers as Parky, he joined the Parachute Regiment and Airborne Forces, before becoming chief instructor at Sandhurst.
On his last tour before retiring, he commanded the British Army training organisation in Nairobi.
In 2003, he and his wife permanently relocated to Kenya where he took up his post with Lewa, a growing conservation and community development project.
The couple sold their home in Hassocks, West Sussex, for £500,000 three years later. They have two daughters, Anna, 33 and Renate, 29. Lt Col Parkinson took up the post with Lolldaiga Hills at the start of this year.
A spokesman for the Foreign Office said: ‘We are aware of the death of a British national in Kenya and our team at the High Commission in Nairobi are providing consular assistance.’