Lauren was originally going to run the EMF Half Marathon in May 2020 however due to the impacts of Covid-19 the event was unable to go ahead. Lauren instead took on the virtual challenge this year, running her own route and running the distance in her own local area.

Lauren choose two very important charities close to her heart to donate to:

The first is in memory of my beautiful friend Kirsty Maxwell. The money will go to the Kirsty Maxwell Charity which has been set up to help other families who find themselves in the same heart breaking situation as Kirsty’s family. She was taken from us too soon in circumstances that still remain unclear. Kirsty’s family are still searching for answers as to what happened in Benidorm. We all miss her more each day.

The second is the British Heart Foundation. My Gran passed away suddenly in September 2018 and I want to run in her memory. I still can’t believe she is no longer here and I miss her every single day.

Lauren originally set her target at £500 but later raised this to £800 due to the amount of donations she had already received. Lauren has now achieved 140% off her £800 target – raising a grand total of £1,125!

Massive well done to Lauren!

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Daily Record crime reporter Jane Hamilton looks at the added heartache and difficulty grieving families endure when loved ones die abroad.

Unexpected deaths. We all have to die some time and all of us will be affected by grief at some stage in our lives but when that death occurs unnaturally it becomes a cruel and unusual grief.

Unexplained bereavement evokes overwhelming feelings of anger and a desire for justice.

And in most cases, when the death happens on Scottish soil, relatives will have their questions, desires and quest for retribution answered by various parts of the justice system – whether that is through the police investigation, the Family Liaison Officer, the pathologist, the prosecutor or the jury and the judge.

But what if your loved one dies abroad? What then? Well, let me tell you, there’s very little in the way of help for families of those who die outside of Scotland.

Aside from some or little assistance from the consular office in whatever country they have died in, that’s it.

So unless the police have a suspect and the wheels of a foreign justice system turn smoothly, there’s no direct channel to families and no help navigating an alien language and culture.

Retired detective superintendent David Swindle – the man who led the investigation into serial killer Peter Tobin – has been working with families for several years in a bid to get answers into the deaths of both Kirsty Maxwell and Craig Mallon in Spain.

Craig, 26, of Coatbridge, died after being hit by a single punch during his brother’s stag do in Lloret de Mar on the Costa Brava in May 2012.

And Kirsty, a 27-year-old newlywed from Livingston, died after plunging from a 10th-floor apartment in Benidorm during her friend’s hen do five years later.

The official police investigations into their deaths have been ridiculously inept and chaotic.

Evidence has been lost, crime scenes trampled on, witnesses not interviewed and allowed to return to their home countries, public appeals for information have been poor and so on.

Their grieving families have had to fight for even the smallest of detail in what must seem like investigations run by the keystone cops instead of experienced detectives.

To compound their grief over the circumstances of both the victims’ deaths, their families have faced the bureaucracy and red tape alone.

The Scottish authorities have offered no assistance. And that should frighten us all. Nobody expects to go on holiday and die but it does happen and, just like Craig and Kirsty, two bright, young and loving people with their futures ahead of them, it could happen to any one of us.

In England, the situation is different – a coroner will hold an inquest and can summon police reports, post- mortem reports (and can even demand a second examination) and can at least attempt to get some answers for families.

I’ve long said the Scottish justice system is among the best in the world but lately I’ve had a feeling it’s too secret, too closed and denies the very thing it’s set up to do – right wrongs for its citizens, even those who die far from home.

Such is the fear of prejudicing future proceedings, it’s rare we can even access a cause of death until a trial. If, indeed, there is going to be one.

In Scotland, the police, local authorities and the Crown Office have no role in supporting families or providing the support families in England get. A coroner system in this country would change that. Knowing how and why your relative died goes some way to helping process their sudden death.

Having a dedicated officer who can liaise with the foreign authorities will spare families, such as the Mallons and the Maxwells, the pain of sourcing vital services such as translation themselves. Losing a relative to murder is one of the worst things anyone can have to cope with – never mind being left to deal with it alone.

Swindle does his best to assist those families but it shouldn’t be up to retired detectives to find out the truth when Scots citizens die abroad.

Fatal accident inquiries shouldn’t be at the discretion of the Lord Advocate – they should be a matter of course. As normal a part of the system as, say, post-mortems.

Families such as the Mallons and Maxwells should not be deserted in their greatest hour of need.

Credit: The Daily Record

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A few words from Independent Reviewer / Crime Expert David Swindle

Independent Reviewer / Crime Expert David Swindle

On 18th February last year (2020) at that emotional launch of Kirsty’s Charity in Edinburgh none of us could have envisaged what would follow for the next year.

This last year has brought so much sadness with the pandemic and everyone’s life and the world changing forever.

What has not changed is that families like Kirsty Maxwell whose loved ones are killed abroad still do not get the formalised holistic support they should from the UK and Scottish Governments despite political promises and debate.

The lack of foreign travel during the pandemic has meant less tragic killed abroad victims however since the launch last year things has been busy for the Kirsty Maxwell Charity who have received requests for support from bereaved killed abroad families throughout the UK.

I am delighted that our multilingual team of experts has been able to help and still are involved in helping some of these bereaved families who have contacted Kirsty’s Charity for proactive support and advice.

It’s great to know that the dedicated work by Kirsty’s family and their team in setting up the Kirsty Maxwell Charity is now helping families unfortunate to find themselves in the same terrible situation fighting for truth, justice and answers.

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On Saturday 29th August a group of keen lads completed the Ben Lawers 7 munros in aid of two charities very close to their hearts. These were both the Kirsty Maxwell Charity and Macmillian Cancer Support, with fundraising being split between the two.

They have attempted to keep fit during lockdown by running and cycling, and wanted to take on a challenge that was difficult but achievable with their fitness level.

Adam, Gordon, Duncan, Ross, Scott, Andy, Kenny and Cameron (affectionately known as the Deans Chippy Mob) decided on the Ben Lawers 7 Munros. It took them a total of 8.5 hours covering 13 miles to complete.

Kirsty was a big part of their lives and they wanted to help both the family who are still pushing for answers and other families experiencing something similar. They decided this would be a great opportunity to raise funds in memory of Kirsty.

They also choose to split the funds with Macmillian Cancer Support, a charity close to many peoples hearts, following the terminal diagnosis of one of the groups dads.

The Ben Lawers 7 consits of the following munros

Meall a’Choire Leith: 926m

Meall Corranaich: 1,069m

Beinn Ghlas: 1,103m

Ben Lawers: 1,214m

An Stuc: 1,118m

Meall Garbh: 1,118m

Meall Greigh: 1,001m

The boys enjoying a well earned pint after their challenging day.

Well done to all the boys who took part in this challenge, and for all their efforts for raising funds for both charities. You can check out more information and the total raised here –

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On Saturday 29th April 2017 at around 07:50am, tragically Kirsty Maxwell lost her life. She had only just arrived hours before and the circumstances of her death are still unclear to this day.

Kirsty was just 27, recently married to her childhood sweetheart, and a new exciting chapter in her life was waiting. Along with a group of friends Kirsty attended a hen party in Benidorm, but what was supposed to be a fun trip with all her friends ended in devastation.

Kirsty’s family have released the following video in memory of their beautiful angel. We will all continue to fight for answers and justice. We have set up this charity in honour of Kirsty Maxwell, to continue the fight to help prevent other families being abandoned in their time of need.

Please visit to find out more information around the appeal or if you have any information which may be of help.

In Memory of Kirsty Emma Curry Maxwell

For 3 long years we have been fighting for truth, answers and justice for Kirsty’s brutal death.

As each year goes by the loss of Kirsty does not get any easier but we remain determined, we are Kirsty’s voice, we are Kirsty’s representation, Kirsty is not here to speak so we must be her voice.

At present during this global lockdown which has also affected the courts in Spain, we and “in conjunction with our lawyer in Spain” together with assistance from David Swindle Investigative reviewer team continue to strive and push for evidential issues to be heard.

Our public appeal also continues as there are normally UK frequent visitors to Benidorm this time of year. Who although in lockdown, they may not know or had the opportunity to come forward yet.

In Kirsty’s memory we have created the Kirsty Maxwell Charity. This is to assist and help others who find themselves in a similar predicament with no one to turn to, no help at hand and that feeling of being abandoned to investigate on your own when a loved one is killed abroad.

The support we continue to get from family, friends and public is hugely appreciated, many thanks.

Again, this time of year we continue to honour and remember Kirsty as the loving and caring girl we all so dearly miss.

Please stay safe and take care, many thanks to you all and your loved ones.

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SNP MP Hannah Bardell has called for UK citizens to be given a legal right to consular assistance and enshrine a duty of care towards British nationals who face difficulties overseas.

The call comes as thousands of British nationals have been stranded around the world due to the coronavirus crisis, with many facing difficulties accessing support.

The Livingston MP has campaigned for better consular support after two constituents died in suspicious circumstances abroad, including our own Kirsty Maxwell, and is founder and Chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Deaths Abroad, Consular Services and Assistance.

Commenting, SNP MP Hannah Bardell said:

“Thousands of UK citizens have been stranded abroad through no fault of their own – and, while we welcome the efforts made to repatriate them, more needs to be done.

“The lack of support for citizens abroad is a long-standing issue that coronavirus has turned into a crisis for those affected.

“The UK government has no legal duty of care for British nationals overseas, and the guidance on who should receive help is vague, confusing and at the discretion of consular staff.

“It’s time to put a right to consular assistance in law and ensure that citizens in difficulty abroad receive the help they deserve.”

Please write to your MP and ask him/her to sign the EDM (text below). We are hoping to garner strong cross-party support and we hope – that with your help – we can achieve this.


Session: 2020-21

Date tabled:

Primary sponsor: Hannah Bardell


That this House recommends clarifying the guidance around consular assistance and enshrining in law the right to consular assistance at a time when thousands of British nationals are stranded overseas during the outbreak of Covid-19;

Recognises that currently there is no legal right to consular assistance for British nationals including those who are stranded, imprisoned or who die overseas; 

Further recognises the current guidance around who will qualify for consular assistance is based on discretion; further notes that the guidance that assessments of vulnerability are made on the basis of the needs you have, based on who you are, where you are and your situation is vague; notes the work that has been undertaken to clarify this guidance by the All Party Parliamentary Group on Deaths Abroad, Consular Services and Assistance as detailed in its October 2019 Report entitled Why families in the UK deserve better and what can be done;

Further notes the aims of the British Rights Abroad Group petitioning the UK Government to make consular assistance a clear legal right; acknowledges the detrimental effect on British nationals who learn in their hour of need that they are not legally entitled to consular assistance from their Government; 

Further notes the millions of Brits who are currently stranded around the world due to Covid-19 who may or may not be assisted in getting home; and urges the Government to act now on enshrining a legal right to consular assistance.

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Baywatch Online has published an article about the death of Kirsty Maxwell, who’s case inspired this charity. It was 3 years ago at this time that Kirsty and her friends were getting excited and finalising arrangements for their holiday to My Pretty Payma / Apartmentos Payma Benidorm, Spain.

We hope that during this terrible time of crisis when people are at home, browsing online and reflecting on things in the past that this magazine article and associated publicity / social media activity all our supporters hopefully generate will help reach those with information about the tragic Kirsty Maxwell killed abroad case.

Full article is available here (page 22 and 23) –

A special thanks to the Bay Watch Magazine Manager Roderick Douglas and David Swindle’s colleague Lesley McEwan for arranging this feature which we hope will assist.

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On Tuesday 18th February 2020 the Kirsty Maxwell Charity officially launched. We would like to thank everyone for coming along, it was a heartfelt night with many people who are close to Kirsty’s case coming together.

Below are speeches from the night which express how important it is to us to start this charity and help assist others in their time of need and many thanks to those who have helped us along in this journey.

Speech from Brian Curry – father of Kirsty Maxwell

Good evening

Thank you everyone for coming along tonight to support the launch of the Kirsty Maxwell Charity.

Also known as the Kirsty Maxwell Killed Abroad Holistic Support Charity.

Just to follow on from the video as to one of the many reasons we are setting this charity up. 

Firstly we have a lot of people to thank in the setting up of this charity, a lot of people who gave us their free time and allowed me let me pick their brains on how to go about this and the people who helped at varying stages of this process. 

I would also like to thank Marion Davies who helped to ensure our application was kept on track.

On the Kirsty Maxwell Charity Web page, there is a link to the publication on the “APPG on Deaths Abroad, Consular Services and Assistance.”.

Listening to the families who gave evidence at the various APPG’s.

The all too familiar harrowing attestations of their own experiences when fighting for truth and answers, and how families are left feeling empty and helpless.

That this has happened to other’s, who like us found that expectations of a helping hand and assistance from official sources is sadly lacking and does not even come close to advocating support or comfort, be it legal, financial or just to be there as a source of strength.

There is no mandatory process in place to chaperone people when a loved one dies abroad; There is no protocol that kicks in to guide families who are the living victims of a loved one who is killed abroad.

There is no officially trained authorised mentor, advisor, counsellor or confidant to come to your rescue and make everything. Ok.

There is however, individual consular staff who although not trained to translate legal or medical reports, do their best under what seems a shoddy framework and try to be there to alleviate your pain. 

This is not even nearly good enough.

We knew we had to do something more, something more to help people like us, who within these first hours of tragedy need somewhere to turn, someone to approach,  someone to throw you a lifeline when you are left floundering in a sea of suffering and distress. 

We will also lobby with MSP’s and MP’s to try to change the approach Judiciaries and legal systems have towards those living victims of a loved killed abroad.

As stated in the APPG report,

“A family should not be “lucky” as victims of a crime or indeed where no crime is proven or can easily be proved” 

Many changes are needed. Some of it requires legislation, for example, a legal right to consular services, which surprisingly, British citizens do not currently have.

We talked about starting this charity because of the series of events that has happened to us and sadly continues to do so, while we continue to fight for truth and answers to Kirsty’s unresolved, unexplained brutal killing.

We are humbled by the fact that many people, family, friends, stranger’s – the public in general are very generous in our appeal to help fight for justice for Kirsty. The people, who have fund raised, carried out events, attended events, those who donate in every way possible to help us. We would not have come this far without you.

Our charity team is small but dedicated to say the least, asking friends to give up their own free time to become trustees, to assist with IT, banking, fundraising, media work, promotion and the actual work of helping someone like ourselves,.. well that makes someone in our eyes special.

We hope this never happens again, but sadly it will and we will be there to offer those in distress that tiny bit of hope and help if we can.

Thank you and thank you all for listening.

Angie Lees – Kirsty Maxwells Aunt

Good evening and once again we thank you all for coming along tonight.

Firstly we are not here to replace consular services or act as legal advisors for those people who find themselves in a tragic, unfortunate and gut wrenching situation as we found ourselves in when we were told of Kirsty’s death.

Again, we stipulate it is that first 48 hr period we feel can make a difference to any help, assistance and outcome when a loved one is killed abroad

The way we found out about Kirsty’s death was crass, unforgiving and insensitive.

No one should have to take a call from a stranger in a broken language to tell them about the death of their loved one.

While family and friends rallied round we had to make inroads ourselves as to what happened to Kirsty and how did she was killed.

We had people contacting web sites and airports for flights; we had family trying to contact the FCO office in London, we had friends trying to contact friends over in Spain, we were numbed, we were in shock, we felt lost, confused and helpless.

On arrival at Alicante airport, no one was there to meet us; we got some taxis to the only place we could go to, The Pretty Payma Apartments.

Shock turned to further disbelief when we found out Kirsty’s death had not been an accident as we were led to believe, but that something more sinister and forbidding had happened.

We had nowhere stay, everywhere was booked, it was a bank holiday in Spain so we got directed to the bus station hotel, we did not sleep that night.

The next day we visited the police station were we sat through a paltry explanation of events by the Benidorm Police SIO. What he told us made us angry. We asked for the police report, which was in Spanish and we were told we would need to get legal representation if we wanted to pursue this further.

About midday the British Consular arrived, we again visited the police station armed with a consular who spoke Spanish and could help us.

Alas the consular work to a very tight remit and she could not translate the police report.

We asked if she could get us a Lawyer she said no, but she did write out a list of lawyers we could pick from a scrap piece of paper.

Not satisfied with the Benidorm police SIO explanations of events, we decided to get a Lawyer and go to court the next day to put forward our case. We spent the night phoning around, we got a lawyer after our third phone call.   He agreed to meet the next day.

48 hrs had now passed since Kirsty’s death, we gave him the police report files, he had only 30 minutes to read it before meeting the judge, she refused to meet us, he told us Kirsty’s killing was being treated as a homicide, but,.. That the perpetrator was being freed. It was a bank holiday. It would appear to our lawyer that the judge did not want be kept in office over a long weekend.  

We were devastated, angry and distraught, bearing in mind up until this point we still did not know where Kirsty’s body was.

We knew we had to stay longer as this was not being solved anytime soon.

We got taxis to another city, to the morgue where we were told Kirsty’s body was being kept.

We identified Kirsty’s body almost 60 hrs later after she was killed. We got an autopsy report again Spanish.

  • Maybe if we had a trained translator in place we could have had full knowledge as to what was in the police report and the autopsy report (instead of looking for 6 weeks to source a reliable and affordable translator). 
  • Maybe if we could have got a criminal lawyer (the lawyer on the list the FCO gave us was a property lawyer), we could have got the perpetrator kept in jail until our inquiries where acted on.
  • Maybe if there was a procedure in place, a protocol of official formal structures that take care of you and take you through the process of a judicial system with someone by your side then –
  • Maybe we could have had the truth, answers and managed to preserve all the evidences instead of hearing of them systematically over a period being lost, destroyed, refused and tampered with.
  • Maybe,… we could have got Justice.

We were fortunate at the start to have the support of friend’s family and the public, politicians, media and with the help of David Swindles Investigative review team we have made great inroads in to finding out truth and answers in Kirsty’s case but alas also opening a large “can of worms” concerning initial flawed investigations and judicial obstructions.

Along with our Lawyer Lorena, we strive to be heard, we speak for Kirsty because she is not here to talk.

This is one of our aims to try to prevent what happened to us happening to someone else, to give families and people like us, a helping hand, if tragedy strikes again.

We cannot bring loved ones back, but at least we can maybe restore a bit of dignity in assisting people like us, to help find out quicker, to help get representation in place, to help to get to the truth and find answers when a loved one has been killed abroad.

Thank you to everyone who has shared, donated, liked our social media pages and to those who attended our launch night to hear more about what the Kirsty Maxwell Charity has to offer.

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