The UK family saga ,Court Moves To Save Life Of Ailing father


The UK family saga ,Court Moves To Save Life Of Ailing father

The UK family saga ,Court Moves To Save Life Of Ailing father

A UK court has stopped children of a Nairobi lawyer from withdrawing him from a top London hospital where he is admitted with serious injuries.

Investigators are yet to establish how Samuel Ritho suffered the injuries while in the care of his three children.

The High Court in London last week ordered that Ritho should be treated at the Royal Free Hospital, Hampstead, North London until a judge was convinced that he was well enough to return to Kenya.

The court was ruling in a civil case brought by three children of Mr Ritho, who have sued a social services agency after it took the lawyer to hospital on suspicion that he had serious unexplained injuries. The children’s mother, Gladys Ritho joined efforts by social services of London Borough of Brent Cross to establish the cause of the injuries after doctors from various hospitals where the lawyer had been taken for treatment raised a red flag after suspecting that the old mad had been mistreated.

Mr Ritho, who was at one time the Chief Adjudication Officer at the Ministry of Land and Settlements before becoming a lawyer, has a huge property portfolio worth hundreds of millions in Nairobi and other major towns in Kenya.

The Nairobi lawyer’s children, Dr John Kanogo Ritho (cosmetic dentist in London), Geoffrey Avugwi Ritho (a medical doctor in Spain) and Margaret Ritho (a financial analyst in America) wanted the court to compel Brent Cross social services to release their father whom they had allegedly taken into care without the family’s consent.

But the social services and Mrs Gladys Ritho opposed the application on ground that the elderly lawyer was very ill and needed close medical supervision. The social services submitted it was not yet established what caused Mr Ritho to suffer such visible body injuries, which police had also been asked to investigate.

Various doctors had told the social services that Mr Ritho had wounds on his back that resembled those of somebody who had been scalded with hot water. He also had a gushing wound on his knee.

Mr Ritho had been invited by his three children to visit the UK in June last year allegedly to receive treatments for a stroke that had left him partially paralysed on one side. His wife Gladys accompanied him to London. His condition almost turned tragic after Gladys returned to Kenya to renew her visiting visa.

Interfering with investigations

The ailing lawyer wanted to return with his wife to Kenya, but some of his children allegedly thwarted the efforts. When the case came for mention on Thursday last week, the judge ordered Mr Ritho should continue receiving treatment at the Royal Free Hospital, Hampstead, North London until doctors declare him fit to travel. The judge also ordered the children to meet Mr Ritho’s medical expenses as well as paying £200 (Sh28,000) every week for their mother’s upkeep while in London .

The couple’s eldest son, Dr Kanogo, a dental surgeon in North London, was ordered not to contact or try to access his father until the case was heard and determined to avoid interfering with investigations.

The other two children, Geoffrey and Margaret were, however, allowed to be visiting their father at hospital.

The judge also recommended that the lawyer with Mr Ritho’s will, allegedly redrafted in London, should be presented before a Kenyan court to be interrogated to establish its validity, and whether it had been obtained under duress.

The social services was also ordered to compile a report for the court and that police should keenly investigate allegations of torture on the old man and take urgent actions against any person found to have committed a crime. The case will be mentioned on December 21 for further directions.

When The Standard contacted Mrs Ritho on Friday evening, she sounded unsettled and unwilling to speak about the saga. It was until Sunday morning when she called back to say her children had visited her and didn’t want her interviewed. Mrs Ritho, who taught at Kileleshwa Primary School for many years before retiring, however, said when she returned to Kenya to renew her visa, she was uneasy to leave her husband in the care of their children.

“I didn’t know what had happened to my husband. I couldn’t communicate to him,” she said. Mrs Ritho said that when she managed to return to Britain last month, she found that her husband’s health had deteriorated and had open injuries, which could not be accounted for.

She also said that while her husband was able to walk while being aided when she left, he could only be wheeled on a chair on her return.

“I just want to be allowed to take my husband back home. I wish I can do this today,” she said.





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