College accepts Kenyan verdict

By Kiri Gillespie

1 comment

Authorities at Bethlehem College have accepted the Kenyan police's claim that a local man was driving a minivan that crashed and killed four people - despite a confession from former student David Fellows that he had been behind the wheel.

Police investigating the accident say Kenyan man Chris Mmata, who died at the scene, was driving.

This is in line with early reports that were later dismissed after former Bethlehem College student David Fellows said he had been driving at the time of the the crash.

The school said Mr Fellows was told to keep the driver swap a secret until after he got home so the 18-year-old and others did not have to face Kenyan police.

Board of Trustees chairman Greg Hollister-Jones said the school would not question the ruling of the Kenyan police.

"The Kenyan police have investigated it, including receiving information from New Zealand that David was considered to be the driver," Mr Hollister-Jones said.

"The Kenyan police have come to a conclusion and we have to accept it, don't we? It's not for us to second guess it."

Mr Hollister-Jones said the finding was not expected to impact the school's own investigation, which was being run by a private investigator.

The investigation was expected to look into Board of Trustee issues such as the emotional and physical safety of the environment the school's students and affiliates were in, Mr Hollister-Jones said.

"We were never going to investigate that cause of the crash because that was the job of the Kenyan police."

When asked if someone would be travelling to Kenya as part of the school's investigation, Mr Hollister-Jones said that had not been planned and they would not want to make the cost of the investigation too expensive.

The investigation is partly taxpayer-funded through the Ministry of Education.

The family of David Fellows declined to comment when contacted last night.

Mr Hollister-Jones said he imagined they were not concerned about the Kenyan police decision.

In a previous article Mr Fellows' lawyer, Paul Mabey QC, said if Kenyan police believed his client was not driving, he could not be charged and without a charge, he could not be extradited out of New Zealand.

Tauranga couple Brian and Grace Johnston and former college student Caitlin Dickson, 19, were also killed in the January 15 crash on Kenya's notorious Nairobi-Murang'a highway.

They were part of a 19-strong team from Bethlehem College that was on a volunteer mission to the Ark Quest School in the small village of Mahanga.

- Bay of Plenty Times

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