Men sentenced to hang for murder of British aid worker

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The Independent Online
THE FATHER of a British volunteer aid worker murdered for pounds 5 in a Belize jungle spoke of his relief yesterday after her two killers were sentenced to death.

David Lightfoot's daughter, Anna, 27, died in August last year. He said the fact that Alan Cal and Estevan Sho were convicted helped "in some small way". Mr Lightfoot, 54, added: "What we really want is for Anna to pop through the door this weekend and tell us all about her life and these places. But nothing that happens in any court is going to bring that back." Cal, 20, and Sho, 21, were found guilty on Monday by a jury at Dangriga supreme court after a two-week trial. Hanging is mandatory for murderers in Belize.

Ms Lightfoot, from Saddleworth, Greater Manchester, was discovered in bushes near a dirt track in a remote southern region of Belize. She had failed to return from a shopping trip to a village near the Raleigh International project where she was working.

Soldiers from the British Army base in Belize started a search for her. They were joined by police, villagers and the Belizean defence force. The men, from a village near the death scene, confessed the motive was robbery. Ms Lightfoot was murdered for the equivalent of pounds 5.

Mr Lightfoot and his wife, Freda, 57, who live in Cumbria, have another daughter, Debbie, 34. He said he was pleased for the Belize authorities at the outcome of the trial. "They put a lot of resources into the initial search for Anna, which brought about a successful prosecution," he said.

"The problems with trials for the families of victims is it brings it all back. What we really want to do is get on with celebrating her life. She achieved a great deal in a remarkably short life. We want to remember that."

Ms Lightfoot had been in the former British colony for nine weeks, helping to organise young volunteers on a project at San Pablo, about 100 miles south of the capital.

She had gained a diploma in countryside management from the Welsh Agricultural Office in Aberystwyth and had been working as an assistant countryside warden on river projects for Tameside council, Greater Manchester.

Her family set up the Anna Lightfoot memorial fund last year. The fund, thought to stand at about pounds 5,000, will go Raleigh International to provide equipment for the organisation's schools in Belize and elsewhere. "Anna was very committed to Raleigh International, and I am sure she would be delighted her name is going to go forward," Mr Lightfoot said.