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Daughters of tycoon in Kenyan court to clear their names

With their glossy waist-length hair, pristine make-up and vertiginous heels, the glamorous sisters looked like they were dressed for the catwalk rather than a hot, dusty and fly-blown courtroom.

Even the legal files Helen and Alexandra Veevers carried alongside their designer handbags as they sashayed into court were hot pink. But behind their polished smiles lay a steely determination.

The sisters, from Rochdale, returned to Mombasa, Kenya, last week for the latest chapter in an extraordinary legal battle to clear their name over the death of their father, millionaire property developer Harry Veevers. The case has been compared with the 1987 film White Mischief.

With their glossy waist-length hair, pristine make-up and vertiginous heels, the Helen (right) and Alexandra (left) Veevers looked like they were dressed for the catwalk rather than a hot, dusty courtroom

Sensationally accused by their half-brothers Richard and Philip Veevers of poisoning their father to get their hands on his £7 million fortune amid claims of lies, corruption and fraud, the two-day hearing was the hottest show in town.

Kenyan scientists claimed to have found traces of the insecticide cyhalothrin after exhuming Mr Veevers’s body, at the brothers’ instigation, 11 months after his death. But on Wednesday, a British toxicologist told the inquest that a re-analysis of soil and soft-tissue samples, using a highly sensitive technique, had found no such trace of the toxic compound.

Dr Alexander Allan, who worked for the Home Office for 20 years, said via video-link that he felt there were ‘issues’ with the Kenyan analysis – and was forced to look on bemused as a brief but noisy spat ensued between the sisters and Richard Veevers in court. An earlier hearing had to be halted when the sisters shouted at a witness.

Alexandra Veevers gestures during her testimony during the inquest into how her father Harry Veevers died back in 2013, at the Mombasa Law Courts, Kenya

Alexandra Veevers gestures during her testimony during the inquest into how her father Harry Veevers died back in 2013, at the Mombasa Law Courts, Kenya

Helen Veevers (pictured) was also sensationally accused by her half-brothers Richard and Philip Veevers of poisoning their father to get their hands on his £7 million fortune

Helen Veevers (pictured) was also sensationally accused by her half-brothers Richard and Philip Veevers of poisoning their father to get their hands on his £7 million fortune

Kenyan scientists claimed to have found traces of the insecticide cyhalothrin after exhuming the body of Mr Veevers (pictured)

Kenyan scientists claimed to have found traces of the insecticide cyhalothrin after exhuming the body of Mr Veevers (pictured)

Tempers in the case, it seems, are running as high as the stakes.

Present at the inquest is senior assistant director of public prosecutions, Alexander Muteti. If the presiding magistrate in the case concludes that Mr Veevers died unlawfully, Mr Muteti could begin a murder investigation against Helen and Alexandra. But if it is found that Harry died of natural causes, he will to decide whether the brothers should be investigated for fraud and attempting to pervert the course of justice.

Outside court, a weary Mr Muteti said: ‘Many accusations are flying around the courtroom. I’ve never seen anything like it.’

Mr Veevers made his fortune building properties in Rochdale and Mombasa, where he lived in retirement until his death from a heart attack in February 2013, aged 64. Richard and Philip, his sons from his first marriage, had his body exhumed 11 months later, claiming foul play. A Kenyan government scientist – working for the Veevers brothers – said he found traces of poison.

Richard Veevers with his father Harry Veevers on Richards wedding day. Richard is now in a bitter court battle with his half sisters over the death of Harry and inheritance

Richard Veevers with his father Harry Veevers on Richards wedding day. Richard is now in a bitter court battle with his half sisters over the death of Harry and inheritance

Alexandra, 28, has told the court she saw Richard and Philip in the mortuary with their father's body, wearing Latex gloves and 'holding some sort of instrument'

Alexandra, 28, has told the court she saw Richard and Philip in the mortuary with their father’s body, wearing Latex gloves and ‘holding some sort of instrument’

Helen, 30, added that, although her father did not leave a will, it was known 'throughout the family' that there was a letter in a safety deposit box at Barclays Bank in Mombasa to be opened in the event of his death

Helen, 30, added that, although her father did not leave a will, it was known ‘throughout the family’ that there was a letter in a safety deposit box at Barclays Bank in Mombasa to be opened in the event of his death

But Alexandra, 28, has told the court she saw Richard and Philip in the mortuary with their father’s body, wearing Latex gloves and ‘holding some sort of instrument’. She has insisted that her father was ‘the love of my life’.

Meanwhile, Helen described the moment she called Richard to break the news of their father’s death. ‘I could tell the news made him happy,’ she said. ‘He said he’d been waiting for this day. He said we could start by sharing the contents of my father’s UK bank account, which had £500,000 in it. He was excited.’

It prompted a heated exchange – one of many – between the assembled lawyers.

Helen, 30, added that, although her father did not leave a will, it was known ‘throughout the family’ that there was a letter in a safety deposit box at Barclays Bank in Mombasa to be opened in the event of his death. Harry’s brother Chris, who had been granted access, found the box empty.

Harry's brother Chris, who had been granted access, found the box empty

Harry’s brother Chris, who had been granted access, found the box empty

Helen told the court she believed the letter might have disinherited Richard, but that Richard had 'done a deal' with a bank employee to get rid of the letter

Helen told the court she believed the letter might have disinherited Richard, but that Richard had ‘done a deal’ with a bank employee to get rid of the letter

Helen told the court she believed the letter might have disinherited Richard, but that Richard had ‘done a deal’ with a bank employee to get rid of the letter. The employee will give evidence later.

‘My uncle Chris told me all about it,’ Helen told the court. ‘They took the safety deposit box from the bank and found nothing in it. He agreed with me that my father was very shrewd with money and would never have paid for a bank box that was empty.’

She added: ‘My uncle warned me that Richard was trying to set us up, accusing us of poisoning my father to get his money. He said, ‘You girls need to be careful.’ ‘

As Helen was cross-examined by Richard’s lawyer, things became heated as she demanded he ‘stop twisting my words’. Standing with her hand on her hip, Helen shouted: ‘Shut up!’ No amount of gentle coaxing by her own lawyer could encourage her to calm down.

The siblings are currently staying with their mother – Azra Parvin Din, 70 – in adjacent six-bedroom homes in a luxury gated development built by their father.

Outside court, Helen told The Mail on Sunday: ‘The whole neighbourhood can hear Richard shouting at us whenever our paths cross, and calling us murderers.

‘It’s horrible for us and our mum, but we are going to see this through. We want to have our dad reburied with dignity. My father would have hated all this. But he would have wanted us to go on fighting.’

The inquest resumes this week.



Read more at DailyMail.co.uk


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