TOP SECRET ANIMAL ATTACK FILES
from thisislondon.com, Associated Newspapers
to death by 12 lions
by Nigel Rosser
Wednesday, December 15, 1999
An old Harrovian aged 19 was torn to pieces by lions in Zimbabwe after ignoring one of the cardinal rules of his camp and sleeping with his tent open, an inquest heard today.
David Pleydell-Bouverie, whose father is Sheriff of Hertfordshire and grandfather was the seventh Earl of Radnor, died in one or two minutes after the attack by a pride of around 12 lions. Other safari members heard a scream - suddenly cut short - and saw Mr Pleydell-Bouverie run from his tent into the bush before he was surrounded and set upon.
The heir to a 2,000-acre estate near Luton had been in Africa after leaving Harrow on a gap year before going to university. A fellow member of the camp, David Boyle, who was with his wife and two children, said in a statement: "I heard a long yell call out. I didn't know if it was human or animal. It was long and loud and suddenly cut off. The yell was followed by the prolonged sound of growling of animals which I assumed was lions."
Safari guide Bradley Fouche, who was sleeping in the next tent to Mr Pleydell-Bouverie, said in a statement: "At approximately 1.30 in the morning I was woken by David calling my name. In the moonlight I saw movement and I realised for some reason David was running away from his tent which was four metres from mine.
"I took a handgun and a torch which I switched on. David disappeared into the bushes and I was unable to distinguish individual shapes.
"I immediately lit flares which detonated to make a loud noise. In the light of the flares I could see David was surrounded by and covered by approximately 12 lions.
"I asked for the Land Rover to be brought up and I tried to get a clear shot without hitting David. I wanted to drive the vehicle at the lions and scatter them. But when the vehicle arrived I realised there was nothing further I could do for David." The inquest at Hitchin heard Mr Pleydell-Bouverie had not zipped the heavy canvas tent as all campers had been ordered to do. Mr Fouche said a lion's tooth was found in the tent. "The lions were followed and an old female and a male were shot."
The family said in a statement they did not blame the guide or organisers. Coroner Dr John Vick ruled Mr Pleydell-Bouverie's death on 1 August in the Matusadona national park was an accident.
© Associated Newspapers Ltd., 15 December 1999