Exclusive: from a Saudi jail, the nurses speak - The letters in full

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The Independent Online
Dear Sir Roger,

I am opposed to signing this settlement document, as I am totally innocent, and it is abhorrent to me to give so much money to someone in connection with a crime that I did not commit. But in the circumstances, I have no choice but to sign, because the threat of the death penalty is too much for me to continue to bear.

My family and I have suffered enormous mental torment already by virtue of the death threat that has been unjustly hanging over me for what seems a lifetime and that has been prolonged and worsened by the actions of Mr Gilford and his lawyers.

Despite the injustice of this agreement, as a nurse I am pleased that at least some of the money will go to the hospital in Adelaide, and would prefer that the entire sum be given to charity. However, as with the threat of the death penalty, I am in the hands of Mr Gilford and of whatever his demands may be as to who will be the ultimate recipient of the funds.

I would like to state here and now that I append my signature with a totally clear conscience, in the full and certain knowledge that I am innocent of the unsubstantiated accusations against me.

I note sadly that Mr Gilford has only agreed to join us in asking the Saudi Arabian authorities to disclose all the evidence in their possession relating to the murder after he has been paid.

Yours sincerely,

Deborah K. Parry

22nd September 1997

I am writing this from Dammam Central Prison whilst I await a verdict on the outcome of my trial of the murder of Yvonne Gilford.

Although I am signing this document, I do so with great reluctance, and I sincerely hope that my signature will not be misinterpreted by the Saudi Arabian authorities and others as in any way being an admission of guilt. I have no choice but to settle privately with Mr Gilford for money, and however distasteful, I am under enormous pressure to do so.

The constant threat of the unjust death penalty has caused unbelievable stress and worry, not only to Debbie and myself, but also to our families and friends and to our supporters who have done so much to help us for no financial gain.

I am innocent of all charges against me and hope and pray that I have the chance of a fair trial to clear my name in the near future.

I have from the beginning asked Mr Gilford to help us in finding out the truth regarding Yvonne's death, but only now has he agreed to join us in uncovering the evidence - upon his receipt of a small fortune. It is a cruel world that ties our search for justice to someone else's mercenary aims, but there seems to be no escaping that cynical equation.

I hope that any money which Mr Gilford receives from this settlement or which he manages to raise himself from this tragedy will be used in a charitable way in memory of his sister, my colleague and friend, Yvonne. Let us hope that it is in the memory of the charity which lasts, not the aftertaste of the other money which will be passed.

Yours sincerely

Lucille McLaughlan

22 September 1997

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