Mother of dead son vows London protests will go on

Les and Julie Sheppard with banner in Selkirk Market Square.
Les and Julie Sheppard with banner in Selkirk Market Square.

An Ettrickbridge couple joined other families in London this week to protest at the way the deaths of loved ones abroad have been officially handled.

Julie Sheppard, husband Les and their family have spent more than three years trying to get all of the official reports into the death of Julie’s son, Andrew Watt, whose body was discovered in a country lane, 140 miles from Paris, in September, 2010.

French authorities concluded his death was caused by ill-health.

But despite a campaign that has even involved former French president, Nicolas Sarkozy, the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) has refused to release the remaining information it holds for fear of harming Anglo-French relations.

This week, the Sheppards made the trip to London for another demonstration outside the FCO’s offices, where they joined 30 other people.

The Sheppards also carried two large banners depicting various foreign secretaries and images of people who have died abroad.

“We sang songs and chanted for nearly three hours outside the FCO. We did ask if someone would be prepared to meet with us, but no-one came out,” Mrs Sheppard said.

“Our own government has left us and these other families hanging out to dry. But we won’t go away – we’re going to make these protests a six-monthly event.”