Robbie Robson: Family of man bludgeoned to death on Qatar oil rig blast 'woeful' sentence for killer

Robbie's partner Kristie Graham described a ten-year sentence for manslaughter for his killer as 'lenient'. Credit: Family photo/PA

The family of a South Tyneside man killed while working on an oil rig in the Persian gulf have branded the sentence handed to his killer "woeful".

Robbie Robson, who was 48, was beaten to death by his roommate Scott Forrest using an iron weight aboard an oil rig off the coast of Qatar.

The family of Mr Robson, who was from Cleadon, in Tyne and Wear, were originally told that Forrest could face the death penalty if Qatari courts found him guilty of murder.

However, during legal proceedings in December, he was convicted of manslaughter and given a sentence of ten years.

An appeal against that sentence is underway with an outcome likely to be known on Thursday 2 May.

The family saw a previous appeal rejected in January and have been told that these proceedings will be the last in relation to the case.

Mr Robson leaves behind his partner and a young child. Credit: Family photo

Mr Robson’s partner, Kristie Graham, said: “We have been devastated by the lenient sentence imposed on Robbie’s killer and we have been fighting for justice through the appeals process since the end of last year.

“This second appeal is our only hope of ensuring that true justice is served.

“Our lives have been devastated and the fact that the perpetrator has got away with such a light sentence makes it all the more unbearable.

“As a family we have had to read all the detailed reports into what happened that evening and it is something we would wish on no other family.

“We place great faith that the Qatari justice system will agree, following this final appeal, that the woeful sentence imposed needs to be reconsidered not only to get true justice for Robbie, but to send a message to the world.”

The family is also making a civil claim against Mr Robson's employer, following new details which emerged during the trial.

Ms Graham, who has a two-year-old son with Mr Robson, said: “Robbie was an amazing, one-of-a-kind, beautiful soul. He was a loving partner, dad, son, brother and uncle whose life was taken too soon.

"Robbie was irreplaceable and he is sorely missed by everyone that knew him.

"The initial charge of murder should be upheld, given the choice between only ten years’ imprisonment or a life sentence – we’d, of course, fully endorse the latter.

“We were told to prepare for the death penalty to be handed down, so to receive the news of a ten-year sentence was incomprehensible.

“A more severe punishment should be imposed to reflect the gravity of the crime and the loss our family endures.”

Mr Robson's family have launched an appeal against his killer's sentence, with the outcome expected on Thursday. Credit: Family picture

Mr Robson had been working for Aberdeenshire-based underwater inspection company Film-Ocean, on the Seafox Burj gas rig when he was killed in December 2022.

Forrest, who is 43 and from Maud, Aberdeenshire, hit him about 20 times with the weight which was used in submarines, the victim’s family said.

Forrest, who also attacked a co-worker, was believed to be suffering from stress and anxiety at the time, caused by living in cramped conditions.

Patrick Maguire, partner at law firm HCC which represents Ms Graham, said: “The family has not only been through the heartache of losing Robbie but have had to endure the experience of seeing the perpetrator receive a sentence far less than they and others expect in circumstances like this.

“We can confirm that we have been instructed by the family to begin the process of bringing a civil action against Robbie’s employers which will begin in the next few days.”

Film-Ocean has been approached for comment.

A Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office spokesperson said: “We are supporting the family of a British man who died in Qatar.”

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