Lauren Patterson murder case drags on, three years after the crime
Three years after her daughter was killed in Qatar, Lauren Patterson‘s mother said her quest for justice continues to be an ongoing “nightmare.”
Yesterday marked the latest appeal hearing for the man accused of killing Patterson, a British teacher.
During the tense session, the court watched a video re-enactment of the circumstances around Patterson’s death on Oct. 12, 2013.
Mother Alison Patterson, who had flown to Doha from the UK for the hearing, looked visibly distressed as it played.
In a statement to Doha News afterwards, she said:
“I feel now as I did three years ago, as if this is all a nightmare and I’m going to wake up and Lauren will message me saying ‘hi mum’ as she always did, telling me all that had happened over the days since I spoke to her last.But as I’m sitting here in the courtroom, as the proceedings go on in Arabic around me, I realize this is not a dream or a story it really happened and I will never see my daughter Lauren again.”
In 2014, a criminal court convicted Badr Hashim al-Jabar for Patterson’s murder and sentenced him to the death penalty.
Qatar’s Court of Appeal upheld the lower court’s verdict in 2015. However, earlier this year, the ruling was vacated by the Court of Cassation, which ordered a new trial.
Yesterday marked the fourth session of the retrial.
Patterson was last seen in October 2013, leaving La Cigale nightclub with Al-Jabar and his friend Mohamed Abdallah Hassan Abdul Aziz.
Al-Jabar is accused of taking Patterson to a home he used for sexual trysts with women, “conquering her body,” and killing her by stabbing her twice.
Prosecutors have argued Al-Jabar and Abdul Aziz then put Patterson’s body in the trunk of a car and drove to a farm in Al-Kharrara, where they burned her remains.
The defense have maintained that Patterson’s death was an accident, and said confessions obtained from the two men on trial were coerced.
Also in 2014, Abdul Aziz was handed a three-year prison sentence for helping Al-Jabar burn Patterson’s body, as well as damaging and erasing evidence.
Abdul Aziz has since served his sentence and was released earlier this year.
Today’s video re-enactment of events surrounding Patterson’s death featured Al-Jabar as himself and a man playing the role of Patterson.
The prosecutor said it showed Al-Jabar’s version of events.
However, standing in a glass box in the courtroom yesterday, he angrily shouted: “This part of the video was edited. This is the second video they shot. They’ve tampered with it.”
This was denied by the prosecutor, who maintained that only one video had been shot.
“This line of the defense is very old and has been used a thousand times against re-enactment videos.”
Addressing allegations that he had tried to influence Al-Jabar by asking him to re-enact what he said in his statement, the prosecutor replied:
“This actually shows neutrality. The prosecutor is telling the defendant to do whatever it is that he gave in his statement freely enough.”
However, Al-Jabar’s attorney said that his client made a confession under duress, after more than three weeks in solitary confinement.
Also yesterday, Al-Jabar’s attorney requested that two key witnesses in the case – Patterson’s former boyfriend and a friend who was with her on the night she died – be recalled to give evidence.
Both have already testified and been cross-examined. Patterson’s friend has given evidence at both the lower court and at a previous hearing at the Court of Appeal.
The lawyer said he wanted to recall the friend to ask her about her last conversation with Patterson before the pair parted.
He also claimed that Patterson was a heavy drinker who was incapable of self-control, which has been disputed in previous sessions.
Alison Patterson attended court with her fiance, friends of her daughter and representatives from the British Embassy.
In her statement, she described the defense’s arguments as “farcical” and said they were “clutching at straws” by going over old evidence.
She said this trip to Qatar had been a “particularly difficult and sad one” in the run-up to the anniversary of her daughter’s death.
“The continuation of this trial makes me wish in my heart of hearts that I could turn the clock back and have said to Lauren when she came home from my mum’s funeral, ‘stay here I need you with me.'”
She added, “‘If only’ is something that continually goes through my mind – If only I had taught Lauren to not be so trusting of people, yet one of the lovely things about Lauren was that she always saw the good in people and gave everyone a chance.”
Patterson said she remained hopeful that justice would be served.
“I am putting all my trust in the Qatari legal system, that they will make sure justice prevails and punish the accused in a manner that fits the heinous crime he committed,” she added.
The next hearing is scheduled for Nov. 27. Thoughts?