Tuesday 12 December 2017

Tablets found in slain backpacker's room, court told

Richard Mgamba in Zanzibar

ANTI-STRESS tablets were found in the hotel bedroom of a young Irish backpacker after he was murdered.

The murder trial in Zanzibar for the killing of Robert Stringer yesterday heard that tablets were found in the victim's room.

It is not yet known if he was taking the medication, which is also used to treat mental illness.

The 26-year-old from Newcastle, Co Wicklow, was found dead in August 2009, after spending five weeks on the Indian Ocean holiday island off Tanzania.

He was found by local police to have suffered head injuries and they suspect he may have been attacked and mugged.

Two men have been accused of his murder; Othman Khamis (35) and Mohammed Abdulah, both residents of Zanzibar.

Testifying before the Zanzibar High Court yesterday, the second prosecution witness, Khamis Makame (35), who is the general manager of the Paradise Hotel, where Robert's body was found, told the court that when he accompanied the police to search Robert's room they found various drugs.

"We found an empty box of medicine as well as some tablets . . . later identified by a pharmacist as anti-stress tablets," he told the court.

According to the witness, it was established that the drugs were mainly used for stress relief as well as mental illness.

During the search, police found Mr Stringer's mobile phone -- but the SIM card was missing.

Mr Makame said Mr Stringer was introduced to him by one of the accused, Othman Khamis, who claimed that the Irish aid worker was interested in marketing his hotel.

The two agreed to meet the next morning for further business talks, but the meeting never took place.

The murder trial has been adjourned to March 3, when a medical doctor who conducted a post-mortem on Mr Stringer's body will testify. The prosecution believes the doctor will have vital evidence about his death.

Mr Stringer was a volunteer with the Irish charity Camara which operates in a number of African countries, including Tanzania.

Meanwhile, Dr Kieran Geraghty said at Dublin Coroner's Court yesterday that he would adjourn the inquest into Mr Stringer's death until the completion of the Zanzibar trial.

He adjourned the inquest until a date in July.

Irish Independent

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