It has emerged that BBC staffer Kate Mitchell, who was found murdered in her hotel room after being stabbed, had drinks with her alleged killer in the bar of the Nairobi hotel where she was staying.
The prime suspect in the murder of the British journalist had booked a room with his girlfriend at the same hotel as Mitchell, according to various news reports in Kenya.
Tamati Mauti had reportedly checked in at the IBIS luxury establishment as where the BBC veteran was staying in Westlands, one of Nairobi’s most upmarket areas.
After having drinks with Mitchell in the hotel bar, Mauti followed her back to her room on the eight floor, Nairobi’s Standard newspaper reported.
“We suspect that this is when the two engaged in a scuffle that resulted in the death of Ms Mitchell,” Kilimani Sub-county Police Commander Muturi Mbogo told another newspaper, Daily Nation.
Police is investigating the case as a murder and are exploring possible motives, Mbogo added.
The former head of BBC’s charity wing BBC Media Action in Ethiopia was found in her room on Friday with a stab wound to the neck and bruises around her eyes.
BBC ‘shocked and saddened’
The BBC said it is “shocked and saddened” by the death of Mitchell, who had worked with the broadcaster for 14 years in Ethiopia, South Sudan, Zambia and London.
Mitchell, a senior project manager at BBC Media Action, was killed in the Kenyan capital on November 19.
The BBC described Mitchell as “positive, fun, driven and extremely talented” and said her work made a huge difference to communities across the globe, addressing poverty and inequality.
The broadcaster said it is working with the Government to establish the circumstances around Mitchell’s death, although it believes it was not linked to her work.
Mitchell’s brother, Peter Mitchell, paid tribute to her and said: “Kate was a deeply beloved daughter, sister and friend, and we are only beginning to realise the magnitude of her loss.
“Kate loved her work and was tireless in her efforts to make the world a better place. She leaves behind many, many beloved friends and colleagues around the world.
“We want to extend our sympathies to everyone who knew, worked with and loved her, and our sincere thanks for the many messages of comfort we have received.”
“We are working with the Foreign Office, and with Kate’s colleagues at BBC Media Action to understand what happened.”Mitchell’s brother, Peter Mitchell,
Mitchell asked for privacy for the family as they grieve.
Caroline Nursey, BBC Media Action chief executive officer, said: “Kate was a much-loved member of staff, and was well known across our whole organisation, especially by our teams in Ethiopia, South Sudan, Zambia, and London.”
An FCDO confirmed they are in contact with the Kenyan authorities who are leading an investigation.
A spokeswoman said: “We are providing support to the family of a British national who has died in Kenya. Our thoughts are with their family at this difficult time.”