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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.

Michaela

Michaela has blogged 80 posts