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Durham family say Foreign Office has wasted their time

The family of a man from Durham who died in France have accused the Foreign Office of wasting their time and putting them through needless stress and expense.

Andrew Watt's body was found in a country lane 140 miles West of Paris nearly four years ago.

For the past two years Andrew's family have been embroiled in a legal fight with the Foreign and Commonwealth Office to gain access to documents relating to the case. They claim that access has always been refused because they were told the documents were so sensitive they threatened relations between France and the UK.

Last week, after a £5,000 legal battle and a 27,000-strong petition, they were finally invited to view the material for themselves in London.

But when they got there they discovered the that documents they had been waiting so long to see contained information they had already been given.

The Foreign Office saysit can't comment on individual cases


  1. Border

Family demand fresh answers for son's mystery death

Julie and Les Sheppard are campaigning for more support for British abroad Credit: ITV News Border

Julie and Les Sheppard are travelling from Selkirk to London to demand answers for their son's death.

Andrew Watt died in France four years ago. His parents argue that there was a lack of support from the British foreign office to find out the details of their son's death.

When the son's body returned to the UK it was discovered his heart and brain had been removed.

Last October the pair joined other families whose relatives had died abroad and protested about the lack of support available in that situation.

Julie and Les Sheppard will join other angry families at London's foreign Office on Tuesday at 11am in a bid to get their voices heard.


France honour for Yorkshire museum director

Ian Reed Credit: Yorkshire Air Museum

Ian Reed, Director of the Yorkshire Air Museum & Allied Air Forces Memorial, has been awarded the Order of Merit from thePresident of France. The award is at the rank of "Officier".

The Ordre National du Mérite is one of France's most exclusive awards and has only been given to around 2500 people in the world.

M. Bernard Emié, Ambassador for France, said the award was in recognition of Mr Reed's career, his commitment to the duty of remembrance for the airmen of France and the admirable work over the last 20 years.

Calls to maintain war memorials

We should make more of the war memorials based in this country dedicated to those who served in the two world wars. That is the call from the commission who are responsible for maintaining them.

They say for too long many have headed to the famous sites in France and Belgium, and those here have become neglected.

Today, November 5, the Commonwealth War Graves commission launched a project to get more of us involved in maintaining them.

David Wood reports.

  1. National

UK ambassador to France: 'Alps crash victims look well'

The French transport minister (left) with British ambassador to France, Peter Ricketts at the hospital Credit: Twitter/Jean-Yves Zoyo

The British ambassador to France has visited the hospital where 29 passengers hurt in the Alps coach crash have been taken.

Peter Ricketts, accompanied by the French transport minister and the UK Consular team, has said "they look well" and are being taken very good care of.

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