A man accused of killing New Plymouth photojournalist Trent Keegan in Kenya has been acquitted because of a lack of evidence.
Mr Keegan, 33, was found beaten to death in a drainage ditch in Nairobi on May 28, 2008.
A Kenyan, Hesbon Amadade, was last year charged in relation to Mr Keegan’s death following investigations made by New Zealand documentary-maker Rob Harley and Mr Keegan’s brother-in-law, Scott McKinnon.
Last month Mr Keegan’s family was told a magistrate had decided Amadade had a case to answer but in a shock decision last week Amadade was acquitted because the police did not recover Mr Keegan’s cell phone – the only physical evidence that could link him to the crime, the Taranaki Daily News reported.
There were indications Amadade was involved but without the cellphone evidence the magistrate had to give him the benefit of the doubt and acquit, Mr Keegan’s sister Nikki told the paper.
Amadade remains in jail charged with the murder of a Kenya Airways pilot in 2010, two years after Keegan’s killing.