Investigating deaths abroad: Justice For All

Murdered Abroad is pleased to be working with the University of Derby on a pioneering initiative called “Justice For All”.

Drawing together expertise from criminology, law and forensic science, students are examining deaths abroad, where there has been no inquest or the deaths were not adequately investigated.

Tony Blockley, Lecturer in the Psychology of Criminal Investigation from the University of Derby, explained: “If someone from outside of the UK dies here in the UK, the police provide a full investigation to find out what happened, but if someone from the UK dies overseas, UK police forces do not always get involved if it is not in their jurisdiction. The service families get from non-UK police forces can sometimes be poor, misleading and, unfortunately, does not constitute an investigation - a miscarriage of justice.

“Having worked with Murdered Abroad on a number of cases, I thought it would be great to develop the opportunity within the University to help the families and to give our students some real-life experience.”

Quote from Tony Blockley, University of Derby's Lecturer in the Psychology of Criminal Investigation

Quote from Tony Blockley, University of Derby's Lecturer in the Psychology of Criminal Investigation

As part of the Justice For All module, students have worked on a number of cases including Denyse Sweeney, who died in Goa in 2010. The Indian authorities said her death was drugs-related but a UK pathologist came to the conclusion it was due to a head injury. At an inquest (in 2012 in Derby), a toxicology report revealed there were no drugs in her system and the probable cause of death was a head wound. Following the work by students and the case featuring on BBC’s Inside Out, the Indian authorities re-opened Denyse’s case.

More recently, the students have been working on a case involving Claire Martin who died in Italy in 2014. Claire had multiple stab wounds to her neck and the Italian authorities closed the case as a suicide. Following the work by the students and other specialists, the evidence indicated it was murder. The investigation was also featured on BBC’s Inside Out (February 27, 2017).

Speaking about Claire’s case, Tony said: “Working closely with the Martin family, we were able to analyse the case and provided questions for the family to raise at a recent meeting at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO). Highlighting the inadequacies of the original investigation in the hope that the FCO will urge their Italian counterpart to re-open and investigate the case as murder. Failing that, we will seek legal remedies to ensure justice is sought for Claire.”