East Africa

Briton killed in Uganda ‘feared his life was in danger’

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A British former UN peacekeeper assassinated in Uganda feared his life was in danger and bought an armoured Mercedes for his protection six months ago, a close friend said.

Derek Coggon, 58, was shot dead outside his home in Entebbe on Friday night. His wife, Nicky Coggon, 32, was being questioned yesterday after allegedly threatening him.

Having worked for the UN for 30 years until 2011, Mr Coggon made several investments in Entebbe, including a fish farm and a popular resort on Lake Victoria.

But he told friends in November last year that several current deals were “going wrong”. Mr Coggon, from Bridlington, was worried he was being followed and could be harmed.

“He was sure people were watching his house, that they were tailing him,” said Robert Powell, 50, from York, who lives in Entebbe and works for the UN.

“It’s why he bought that old armoured Mercedes. It’s such a tragedy after such a long, distinguished career that he should go like this. He was my mentor, and a really good guy, someone who would never say no to anything.”

Mr Coggon served as a military policeman in the 16th Parachute Brigade in the early 1970s before moving on to the United Nations.

He was deployed to 16 different missions, including in Iraq, despite having lost a leg to a landmine while stationed in Lebanon in 1977.

He settled in Entebbe five years ago with his Congolese wife, but the couple recently separated. They were in the middle of an acrimonious legal battle over his assets when he died.

Detectives were on Monday questioning Mrs Coggon after she handed herself into a police station in Kampala, Uganda’s capital, on Saturday.

She was “on a shortlist of suspects”, Mr Powell said, adding that “everyone is a suspect in what happened to Derek”.

Mr Coggon’s wife had assaulted him in the past, and during one argument said, “I’ll see you dead”, his sister, Lynne Moran, 63, reportedly said.

Mr Coggon was shot through the chest and neck late on Friday with a .32 pistol as he lowered his car window at the gates of his Entebbe villa to call to his guard to let him enter.

He died from blood loss after managing to drive himself to within 300 yards of the nearest hospital, Mr Powell said.

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