Mum ‘disgusted’ over FO handling of her son’s death

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An Ettrickbridge mother has accused the Foreign Office of allowing her to wrongly believe it held letters containing fresh information about the death of her son.

Andrew Watt’s family has spent two years and nearly £5,000 on a legal challenge to gain access to the withheld documents concerning his death in France in 2010.

Although French doctors concluded Andrew’s death was due to ill health, his family has always believed the investigation was flawed.

But last week when Andrew’s mum, Julie Sheppard, and other family members travelled to London to finally view two official letters, they discovered all they contained was information they already knew.

Information contained in the two letters and two further notes between British and French officials had been deemed so sensitive it could prejudice relations between the two countries if made public.

“Our legal advisers had recommended we drop our request for a tribunal – the Foreign Office made that a prerequisite for letting us see these two letters,” Mrs Sheppard said.

“But they contained nothing new, just pretty much what we already had been given in a paraphrasing of the information last year. And we weren’t allowed to see the two notes.

“To be honest, they’ve just strung us along for two years, letting us believe these letters contained important information. I’m so angry. To treat a bereaved family this way is disgusting.”

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