US woman killed by elephant in Mt Kenya forest had been warned of danger, court told


Daily Nation

Date Published


An American woman who killed by an elephant together with her one-year-old baby in Mt Kenya Forest while on safari at a lodge in Kirinyaga County was aware of the impending danger in the forest, a court has heard.

While testifying before Justice Jairus Ngaah of the Nyeri High Court on Tuesday, Mr Ibrahim Maina, the tour guide who was directing the woman and three of her family members said he informed them that it was not safe for them to go on nature walk in the forest.

“It was cloudy that day and I informed them that it was not safe for them to go outside the hotel to the forest because they had a baby, but they insisted on going for the nature walk,” Maina said.

The late Sharon Brown and her daughter, Margaux Brown, were trampled and killed by an elephant on January 4, 2010 as they were on a nature walk in the Mt Kenya Forest reserve area.

Mrs Brown was accompanied by her husband Jeffrey Brown, her sister and her brother-in-law.


They had arrived at the Castle Forest Lodge on a Sunday night and asked to be taken to the forest for a two-hour nature walk.

According to Mr Maina, before they left the hotel to go to the forest, they saw and read warning signs.

After walking for about an hour, he said, it started raining and he requested them to go back, but they insisted on proceeding.

“This time Mrs Brown removed a cap from her bag to protect the baby. Even after persuading them to go back, they refused to listen,” he said.

Mr Maina said as they were walking, he spotted an elephant charging towards him and he shouted at them to run for safety.

According to him, Mrs Brown, who was still carrying her baby ran to the right while the others ran to the left.


“While still running, Mrs Brown decided to cross and join the rest of her family on the left side, coming between me and the elephant.

“That was when the elephant knocked her from the back and tossed her in the air killing her on the spot,” explained Mr Maina.

Mr Maina said he was the first one to get to her but he found Mrs Brown’s lifeless body lying and the baby lying beside her.

“The father said that the baby was still alive and decided to carry to her back to the hotel,” Maina said.

The baby died on the way to the hotel.

After informing the hotel management about the incident, the bodies were flown to Nairobi by a Kenya Forest Service (KFS) helicopter.

The bodies were latter flown to the US where they were buried.

Mr Brown has sued the Castle Forest Lodge and the manager, Melia Van Laar, for negligence.

He has also listed the KFS and the Kenya Wildlife Service as respondents.

The family is seeking to be paid USD2.6 million (Sh 2.6 billion).

Hearing will continue on December 7, 2016.