Inquest hears Brampton man was shot dead on Christmas Eve during visit to Ethiopia

PUBLISHED: 17:04 08 November 2017 | UPDATED: 17:04 08 November 2017

INQUEST: Coroner's Court, Huntingdon

INQUEST: Coroner's Court, Huntingdon


A holidaymaker from Brampton was shot dead on Christmas Eve when he was visiting a tourist destination in Ethiopia, an inquest has been told.

Hugh Atkinson, 49, had been on a final holiday before settling down with his girlfriend and their son when he was fatally wounded in December 2014.

Welelaw Kassie, who was carrying the gun, was later convicted of Mr Atkinson’s murder and was jailed for a year and seven months, the inquest in Huntingdon heard.

Kassie had claimed he was transferring the weapon from one shoulder to the other when it went off.

Senior coroner David Heming recorded an unlawful killing verdict on Mr Atkinson, an agronomist.

Mr Atkinson died from shock and a severe chest injury caused by the gunshot wound.

Mr Heming said the delay in completing the inquest had been caused by the difficulty in getting information from Ethiopia, which remained “sketchy”.

Some of the documents were illegible and there had been problems with translation.

“It is clear that the person who fired the gunshot was prosecuted for murder and convicted of that offence in that country,” Mr Heming said.

In a statement, which was partially illegible, Kassie told officials he owned his own gun and accidentally fired a shot when he moved the weapon from one shoulder to the other, hitting a person in front of him.

He saw someone on the ground bleeding heavily.

The inquest, held at Lawrence Court, in Huntingdon, heard Kassie subsequently handed himself in to the authorities.

Ethiopian officials said the gun was not part of a militia and was privately-owned and registered.

There was also confusion about the sentence received by Kassie, with initial reports suggesting he had been given 12 years, but Mr Heming said court records had been checked and the shorter sentence was recorded.

Family members told the inquest that Mr Atkinson enjoyed travelling and had been on a last holiday before committing to his partner.

Police had called to break the news of his death on Christmas Eve.

The shooting took place at the Giorgis Church in Bahir Dar, a popular tourist destination in the north west of Ethiopia, on the shore of Lake Tana, the country’s largest lake and source of the Blue Nile river.

Comments have been disabled on this article.

More news stories

A new community shop in Great Paxton has finally opened its doors after a three-year fund-raising project.

A curriculum review is taking place across both St Neots secondary schools after newly published government league tables showed the academies had scored below average in their Progress 8 results.

Environmental health officers are investigating after a spate of fly-tipping in Brampton.


Victims of the Grenfell Tower fire tragedy in London will benefit from quilts made by a group from Godmanchester.

Most read stories

Local business directory

Cambridgeshire's trusted business finder

Show Job Lists

Digital Edition

Read the Hunts Post e-edition E-edition

Newsletter Sign Up

Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter