Wild rocker Ginger Baker’s death plunges his family into chaos

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His wild lifestyle and reputation were so infamous they almost eclipsed the late Ginger Baker’s brilliance as a drummer.

And now it seems the Cream star is still at it – causing mayhem from beyond the grave in a family row.

The former heroin addict died aged 80 in October. But rather than bringing the family together, it reignited a rift between fourth wife Kudzai and his three children.

Nettie, 59, Leda 51, and son Kofi, 50, missed the modest funeral, claiming they were not told until the last minute.

They are also at war over the whereabouts of Baker’s famous drum kit after his Zimbabwean widow hid it.

A fight over his will is now inevitable, with Mrs Baker suggesting only a small percentage of his estate will go to his children.

The feud emerged ahead of a memorial concert featuring Cream bandmate Eric Clapton at London’s Hammersmith Apollo. 

In an interview with the Daily Mail, Kudzai Baker, 38, said: ‘It was a beautiful funeral service I organised for Ginger, with Kofi saying he was going to play the drums. But I ended up on my own.

‘His three children didn’t come, and neither did his sisters Pat and Cheryl. I haven’t had any contact with them since the day before the service.’

Mrs Baker, who lives in a cottage outside Canterbury, Kent, added: ‘I first heard Kofi wanted Ginger’s drums the day before the funeral. 

He phoned a family friend to say ‘I have to play them at the service and after the funeral I’m taking them to America’. 

My lawyer told me not to take the drums. I’ve hidden them in different pieces because many people want them.’

Baker’s family claim he changed after meeting Kudzai in South Africa in 2006. Four years ago Nettie called police, doctors and social services claiming Mrs Baker was exerting coercive control.

Police took no action after Baker denied having problems, but he cut contact with his daughter. Kofi – who told Rolling Stone magazine a year ago that his father was an ‘ass***’ – lives in Hobart, Indiana, and plays drums in a Cream tribute band alongside Jack Bruce’s son Malcolm and Clapton’s nephew Will Johns.

He said: ‘I asked Kudzai for my dad’s drums so I could take them to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in Ohio. I think she wants to sell them. When I met her just before my dad died, I was nice. I wanted to be involved at the funeral. Next thing I knew I was getting emails saying she was taking control and they’d let us know a couple of hours before the service.

‘Kudzai’s emailed that she’s cutting us out of the will. I don’t think there’s much money, but it’s something else to split the family up, that’s what Nettie is fighting.’

Baker, born Peter Baker in Eltham, south-east London, married first wife Liz Finch in London in 1960 and they had three children. Two further marriages to Sarah, the sister of Nettie’s first boyfriend, and Karen Loucks also ended in divorce.

Baker settled in South Africa and after being swindled out of much of his remaining fortune, he installed Kudzai Machokoto, 42 years his junior, on his polo ranch.

The couple married in 2010 and moved to Kent the following year so her daughter Lisa could go to £19,000-a-year Kent College.

Mrs Baker claimed his records reap as much as £1million a year and he rewrote his will to ensure it goes to her. But Nettie denied there was a fortune, saying: ‘He was living on a state pension of £150 a week.’

Mrs Baker said she may not attend the charity concert on February 17 as she is upset she has not been involved.

 

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