Justice for Lauren
As a mum I never thought I would ever be writing a post like this. We see those awful stories’ in the news and they touch us deeply. We always think, poor family, no idea how I would cope if that happened to me.
Now that is me, and I am writing this to let people know first-hand what happened to my daughter and why I need your help.
My 22 year old daughter Lauren was brutally murdered in October 2013 in Qatar, a country she called home. Lauren was my eldest daughter and after her father tragically died in 2008, she became more than a daughter she became my best friend. She was someone to confide in and the one person who helped me cope at that terrible time.
A few years after her father died, Lauren, who was studying to become a teacher, took an opportunity to go and work in Qatar teaching a reception class.
I went to visit Lauren and she took me to all the places she loved there. I spent the day in the classroom with Lauren and saw first-hand what a natural she was with the children and how much they in turn loved her, I also met her wonderful and ever extending circle of friends.
I left Lauren in the May a very happy young woman who had decided to extend her contract another year. Sadly my mother passed away suddenly in the October, so Lauren came home for her Grandmother’s funeral and that was the last time my family and friends ever saw Lauren alive.
When Lauren left to go back to Qatar, I remember hugging her outside the house and telling her I loved her and I would be fine. I said I missed her, but I looked forward to seeing her at Christmas at home. As always, we texted over the day and I said “let me know when you arrive back in Doha safely”. I never heard from Lauren ever again.
2 days later on the Saturday morning I tried calling her phone, texting, emailing but nothing. I was very worried. Lauren's boyfriend from Malta was arriving in Qatar that day and he had not heard from her since the night before when she was out with her friend. Her friends in the apartment block she lived in said she was not home. I panicked and that moment I knew something was dreadfully wrong, we never ever didn't contact each other.
Finally the friend who Lauren had been out with that night, confirmed that their 2 Qatari male friends had given them a lift home. They had dropped the friend first, then supposedly dropped Lauren off after. They were contacted and they said they had dropped Lauren off outside the flat and she was fine.
On the Saturday afternoon that call I'll never ever forget came through, it’s every mother’s worse nightmare as they told me a body had been found but they weren't sure if it was Lauren as she had been put into a pit in the desert and burnt beyond recognition.
I travelled to Qatar the next morning and for the next 4 weeks I stayed in Doha trying desperately to get my daughter's body flown home as my DNA was needed from me to give a match to enable Lauren to return home.
Not only was my daughter murdered in a foreign country, but I was unable identify her because what was left weighing only 7.5kg. All that was left was part of her head and neck, her upper jaw teeth with her brace still intact. Part of the chest with the knife still embedded (she was stabbed before being moved to the dessert to be burnt) Her feet were the only part of her body intact as they had been over the edge of the fire pit and her red nail polish that she loved was still visible.
Since October 2013 I have returned to Qatar over 11 times to attend court hearings, the 2 men who claimed to take Lauren home that night were charged with her murder. In March 2014 the Qatari lower court found 1 of the men guilty and sentenced him to death for the rape, stabbing and burning of my daughter’s body. His accomplice only got 3 years for aiding and abetting - this is less than a traffic offence in Qatar.
Next came 1 more year of continuous court hearings as they had the right to appeal. Finally in March 2015 the appeal court upheld both of their sentences but they had one last chance at the court of cassation. This case was heard on the 1st February 2016. The man who murdered Lauren had his sentence overturned and a retrial was ordered.
I am writing this to ask you to share Lauren's story far and wide to make everyone hear her story and my families’ plight. I need your help. I am 1 woman, a small voice against a judicial system I don't understand. With many voices maybe justice will prevail. I am also asking for people to donate, I have no money left to continually travel to Qatar and to fund a new court case.
Please help! I will be eternally grateful.
Flowers laid at the spot where Lauren was found in the desert.
A glimmer of light at the end of the tunnel as a court date has been set for the 30th of April in Qatar.
After 6 visits back since January at the last hearing this week I was asked to address the judges and turned down the blood money and said I could not forgive him.
This means that a death sentence could be given although I do not agree with this morally him being forgiven and walking free was not an option.
I will return on the 30th April for the judgement and will update on here the results.
Thank you again to everyone as without you I do not know how I would have managed to get this far.
I feel now as I did 3 years ago as if this is all a nightmare and I'm going to wake up and Lauren will message me "hi mum" as she always did telling me all that had happened over the days since I spoke to her last.
But as I'm sitting here in the courtroom as the proceedings go on in Arabic around me I realise this is not a dream or a story it really happened and I will never see my daughter Lauren again.
The hearing today only proves yet again that the defence are clutching at straws going over old evidence.
What makes it even more farcical is that yet again the lawyer and the defendant thought Leah was in the courtroom.
The defences lawyer who had previously questioned Leah could not recognise her and assumed she was one of the teachers present in the court room.
So returning again on the 27th November what stalling tactics will they use next.
The continuation of this trial makes me wish in my heart of hearts that I could turn the clock back and have said to Lauren when she came home from my mums funeral stay here I need you with me.
"If only " is something that continually goes through my mind all the time.
"If only" I had taught Lauren to not be so trusting of people, yet that was one of the lovely things about Lauren always seeing the good in people not the bad and giving everyone a chance.
That kindness of heart sadly led to her callous murder by someone who seemed to have no respect for Lauren at all particularly in the circumstances surrounding Lauren's murder and the subsequent disposal of her body in such a dreadful and unimaginable manner.
Even to this day myself no member of my family or friends can come to terms with what he did to Lauren's body after he murdered her it is so abhorrent. Something that I go through over and over in my mind questioning how someone could be so evil a total lack of respect for her body.
I am putting all my trust in the Qatari legal system that they will make sure justice prevails and punish the accused in a manner that fits the heinous crime he committed.
There is one thing I have learnt from my daughters death and that is we only have one life so we must make the most of it and live our lives to the full just like Lauren did embracing everything like it is our last day.
Sadly not the outcome from the court hearing I had wanted.
Deferred until the 9th October to re watch the video again as the court room didn't have a projector or screen they played it on a lap top which obviously was impossible for everyone to see or hear. The lawyer for the accused was trying to say the video had been edited since its last showing.
What will they come up with next time. Feeling so fed up. Another trip back.
I can't find any update since 12 months ago. Does anyone know what happened at the judgement hearing in April last year? I think of you all the time Alison xx
Never give up Alison, if this happened to my daughter I would fight it tooth and nail. I am following your progress and wish you the strength to keep going. X
Hope it goes well ...........
Shame on the Qatari government for the way they have treated you and for the corruption. I hope you can get some justice
Praying that justice will be done.
Amen to you and may God bless you and your strength.
My heart breaks for your loss. Another senseless waste of a young beautiful girl. Please be comforted in the thought that we are all behind you and Lauren is in our hearts... We didn't know your daughter but mother's United we can understand how justice must prevail... Keep strong for Lauren and know how proud Lauren would be of you.....
Heart felt wishes & may justice prevail
Heart felt wishes too you, Justice for your daughter is what you deserve ..stay strong x
Hope you get justice