Saturday, September 22, 2007

Fatal Accident Inquiry called for in the death of Annie Borgesson

The Crown Office's lack of substantive explanations to the family of deceased Annie Borgesson, show a typically hostile approach by the Crown Office to anyone who takes issue with it's lack of competence in performing the functions mandated to it in Law.

The Crown Office's methods of dealing with suspicious deaths, and poor investigation handling are familiar to many in the Scots legal profession, and the following case as reported in the Edinburgh News, on the death of Annie Borgesson, shows there is a requirement for full reform of the FAI system, where transparency and accountability are certainly NOT the order of the day ...

The Edinburgh News reports :

Fatal Accident Inquiry called for in the death of Annie Borgesson


THE flowers on the white coffin were Saltire sky blue and white, the single thistle on the lid another poignant reminder of the country Annie Borgesson fell in love with.

And as the rain clouds gathered outside the 15th-century church in Sweden, the mellow voice of a young woman who came to Edinburgh seeking new experiences only to die a mysterious death on a beach in Ayrshire, echoed in song through the building.

For Annie's heartbroken mother, Guje Borgesson, being able to lay her pretty and talented daughter to rest earlier this summer - a whole 19 months after her sudden death - brought, at last, a little comfort.

But she says the questions of how it ever came to that and the mystery surrounding Annie's loss - with new riddles emerging even now - simply will not go away.

Which is why today Guje is preparing to step up her determined fight to unravel the mysteries surrounding Annie's death with a major leaflet campaign around the Ayrshire communities near where she died and here in Edinburgh, where she lived, worked and socialised.

It appeals for anyone with information concerning her death, or who may have seen her in the hours before her body was found, to contact the family through a tribute website set up to highlight her case. And it comes as Guje digests new information - just confirmed to the family - that unidentified female DNA was discovered underneath Annie's fingernails.

"This has been so new and shocking for us," says Guje, speaking from her Stockholm home. "This is something the pathologist must have found out at the very early stages but which we are only finding out about now.

"Something we feel has been withheld from us all this time." Police say Annie's death - her body was found on the shore of Prestwick beach on Sunday, December 4, 2005 - was either suicide or she suffered a bizarre accident.

Annie's mother, however, is convinced she was the victim of a crime, that circumstances surrounding her death have never been fully explained and her pleas for further investigation or a fatal accident inquiry have been unfairly dismissed.

The leaflet appeal is just one stage, in what could become a major push for sweeping changes to the Scottish legal system. For Guje hopes that Annie's case could form the heart of a national campaign culminating with a "silent walk" to the Scottish Parliament, all aimed at highlighting the plight of families seeking justice.

Certainly, her refusal to accept her daughter killed herself meant Annie's body was kept in cold storage until earlier this summer, for a string of tests and investigations in her home country. It meant the funeral was delayed until June.

"Annie knew so many people, she loved being in Edinburgh and she was making plans for the future," says Guje. "Someone, somewhere must be able to tell us something about why she died. I am convinced she was murdered."

Annie arrived in Scotland from her family home in Tibro, near Gothenburg, in 2004, a well-educated young woman, musical, free-spirited and recognisable by her flowing long blonde hair, with hopes of expanding her knowledge of the English language by living and working in the capital city.

She took on a work placement at the Scottish Whisky Heritage Centre in the Royal Mile. She called home regularly from digs at Linton Court Apartments in Murieston Road to tell her mum how much she loved the work, meeting new people and the beauty of the city she'd chosen as her home.

All was well, recalls Guje, until the week just before her death.

"Annie was the kind of girl who, if she had a problem, she would discuss it," recalls the 54-year-old. "She called her brother a few times, once to ask how people could be traced on computers. She didn't explain why she wanted to know. And then she said that we should not call her on the apartment phone.

"She seemed upset in some way. I called her on Friday, December 2 to ask her if she was all right," continues Guje. "I said 'Annie, what's the matter, we are very worried'.

"She said she couldn't talk, she was with a colleague. Then she said something I'd never heard her say before. She said 'You have to respect this, but I have to take care of myself'.

"It was very odd," Guje adds. "But I thought that, well, she's 30 years old, I can't interfere yet I'm her mother. I thought I'd leave it and telephone her later . . . "

Annie is thought to have been making her way to Prestwick Airport for a flight home to Sweden when she died. Her bruised body was found on Prestwick beach at around 8.30am on Sunday, December 4, 2005, her waist-length blonde hair, Guje later discovered when she saw her daughter's lifeless body, had been cruelly hacked off. That act, plus a string of other bizarre incidents surrounding her death, have convinced Guje that Annie did not kill herself. Yet she believes the legal system dismissed her daughter's death as suicide before a thorough investigation had taken place.

"They decided two days later that this was suicide," she sighs. "It was as if they had made up their minds right away. I need a fatal accident inquiry - there are so many strange circumstances that need to be considered."

Bizarre bruises on Annie's body; her cropped hair - "she never allowed anyone but me or her hairdresser here at home to cut her hair," argues Guje - a mysterious man she is believed to have been seen talking to the day before her body was found and even the likelihood that she would choose to drown herself at a spot where the water is typically only a metre deep . . . questions that haunt Guje as the second anniversary of Annie's death approaches.

Yet Strathclyde Police insists: "The death of Ms Borgesson was fully investigated at the time and a report on the circumstances surrounding her death was submitted to the procurator fiscal."

And a spokeswoman for the Crown Office adds: "At present there is no evidence that a crime has occurred. Any new information that is made available to the procurator fiscal will be given consideration."

Fatal accident inquiries - court probes into the circumstances surrounding a sudden death - are held where there are issues of public safety or matters of general public concern arising from a death. The aim then is to highlight hazardous or dangerous circumstances or systems that have caused or contributed to it. But, says South of Scotland MSP Christine Grahame - who campaigned for an FAI surrounding the death of Cavendish Club bouncer Stuart Foster, the system is in need of a major overhaul.

"The current system is highly unsatisfactory," she says. "There are issues about what kind of incidents the Crown Office should consider appropriate for an FAI, the length of time for the Crown Office takes to proceed with an FAI and the idea that one person - the procurator fiscal - should be able to say 'yes or no' to an FAI, need to be looked at.

"I am meeting the Lord Advocate and I have spoken to the cabinet secretary for justice informally on this. And if I'm not happy I will consider the options for bringing forward a Members Bill."

Guje believes Annie's death - and her push for an FAI - may help in the drive to change the FAI system. "We would expect from a democratic country like Scotland to deal with such serious issues, when someone dies in mysterious circumstances, to look into them.

"I want to gather other cases together too. I think when we show that this isn't about a single case, it's about a lot of cases where people feel they have been neglected.

"How can I get on with my life if I don't get the truth?" she sighs. "I have to do this for Annie."

• Did you know Annie while she lived in Edinburgh? Or do you have information to pass to her family - Leave details at

1 comment:

Maria said...

"From personal tragedy comes a glimmer of hope, as a bereaved Swedish mother takes her campaign to the Scottish Parliament to help others ... "

A Swedish mother is petitioning the Scottish Parliament to urge the Scottish Government to independently review the cases of those who have died under suspicious and inconclusive circumstances.

Guje Borgesson, 56, from Tibro in Sweden, has travelled to Scotland six times since the passing of her daughter, Annie, who was found drowned on Prestwick shore, West Coast of Scotland, around 8am on the morning of Sunday 4 December 2005.

Guje is campaigning for changes to the Scottish laws, which would mean that those like her who have felt their loved one's cases were suspicious and inconclusive would have a place to appeal to at the new "specialist deaths unit" within the Scottish Crown Office.

Guje said: "I was dissatisfied with my treatment by the Scottish authorities which left me with no confidence that the real cause of my daughter's death had been established ... the FAI [Fatal Accident Inquiry] system did not serve us well and we had no mechanism to review the decision as to why one was not carried out".

As Guje, her family and Annie's close friends prepare to commemorate what would have been Annie's 35th Birthday this coming Sunday, 7 February, Guje hopes and prays that out of the personal tragedy endured by her family over the past four years some good will result from Annie's untimely passing and her death won't have been in vain.

Guje continued: "With this petition I do not request my daughters case to be reopened but for my daughter Annie Borjesson's case and the cases of Annie Davies and Kevin Mcleod to be used as examples of a) retrospective cases and b) to have provision for an independent review in cases where the bereaved can reasonably demonstrate that there is cause for them to believe that there are suspicious circumstances".

For Guje and all those affected by such tragic circumstances, they hope the aims, objectives and goals set out in her petition will some day soon be realised ... and hopefully Guje's efforts to help others in similar circumstances will be recognised by the Scottish authorities as well.

"Investigation of deaths in suspicious circumstances" - Petitions: View/Sign Petition ...