IT’S a nightmare no family ever wants to endure. Craig Mallon was a young man in his prime and had gone to Spain to celebrate a stag do.
However, he never returned. The victim of random violence on foreign shores.
His family first faced the anguish of learning that Craig had been killed but what followed subjected them to more distress and pain. After years of campaigning, his killer has never been brought to justice.
Sadly, Craig’s story is not an unusual one. He is not the first Scot to have died abroad and whose family were then left battling for answers. We recently highlighted the case of Kirsty Maxwell who plunged to her death from a flat in Spain while on a hen party. Her death is surrounded by mystery. Her family are still in the dark as to how she lost her life in such tragic circumstances.
The death of Dumfries mum Jean Hanlon in Crete in 2009 is another mired in controversy. Her family claim she was murdered as her body showed signs of injury after being recovered from the sea. However, a local coroner claimed she simply drowned.
Too often relatives complain of poor communication between foreign authorities and the Foreign Office which is supposed to act on their behalf.
Too often investigations into such tragedies drift on until, eventually, they disappear from the public eye, leaving families with no final closure.
Such is the problem that MP Hannah Bardell is campaigning to improve those services to families caught up in these circumstances. At the moment relatives don’t qualify for legal aid or for financial help to pay for translation.
This isn’t right and it isn’t fair.
It is now time for Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson to review how the Foreign Office reacts to helps Scots, and other UK citizens, when tragedy occurs abroad.
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