Two held in Saudi over death of nurse
Tuesday 24 December 1996
The two British women, both in their thirties, were being held in a police station and had been denied access to British embassy staff. If they are charged and found guilty of the murder, they could face the death penalty under Islamic law. The British Consul, Tim Lamb, had been attempting to make contact with them since they were detained last Friday but had not been able to establish if they had been charged.
The two women were arrested following the killing of 55-year-old Yvonne Gilford at the King Fahd Military Medical Complex where all three were based. Ms Gilford, a senior theatre nurse from South Australia, was found dead in her room on 11 December. She had been stabbed four times, hit with a hammer and smothered.
According to sources at the hospital, police in Dhahran imposed a ban on all foreigners leaving the medical complex after her death. Around 40 British employees also had their passports confiscated. The Foreign Office in London would not disclose the identities of the detained women.
Mr Lamb had also been trying to put pressure on Saudi officials to say whether the women had been charged - or to release them if they had not. "We are seeking urgent clarification on whether any charges are being brought," a spokesman said yesterday. "A member of staff is trying to seek immediate access."
The spokesman said that Mr Lamb was not allowed to enter the hospital yesterday after flying to Dhahran from Riyadh but was believed to have spoken to other British staff from the hospital.
Ms Gilford was half way through a 12-month contract when she was killed four days before her 56th birthday. She had been living in Johannesburg, South Africa, before arriving in Saudi Arabia and was described by colleagues as a "Florence Nightingale" who devoted her life to nursing.
The resistance of authorities in Saudi Arabia to outside influence in cases involving foreign nationals was highlighted in 1979 by the death of Helen Smith who fell from a sixth-floor balcony during an illegal drinks party in Jeddah. Despite claims by many people, including her father, Ron, that she was murdered, an inquest into her death returned an open verdict.
- 2 Friends 20th anniversary: Alison Jackson photographs reunited cast
- 3 A bottle of wine a day is not bad for you and abstaining is worse than drinking, scientist claims
- 5 Free U2 album: How the most generous giveaway in music history turned into a PR disaster
Scottish independence: Despite defeat history may still point to Alex Salmond as the victor
Scottish independence referendum: Frankie Boyle reacts to nation's 'No' vote - 'To be fair, I've always hated Scotland'
Iranian blogger found guilty of insulting Prophet Mohammad on Facebook sentenced to death
Scottish referendum: Police struggle to control Unionist rally in Glasgow's George Square
Hitler’s former food taster reveals the horrors of the Wolf’s Lair
Daniele Watts: Django Unchained actress detained by Los Angeles police after being mistaken for a prostitute
Scottish independence referendum: A nation divided against itself
Scottish independence: David Cameron is becoming the 'George Bush of Britain'
Russia freezes Ukraine into submission: Kiev admits country doesn't have enough fuel for winter
Scottish independence: The Queen breaks silence on referendum debate – as think tank warns of £14bn black hole if Scotland votes Yes
Archbishop of Canterbury admits doubts about existence of God
£30000 - £35000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Marketing Manager (CIM, B2B, MS Offi...
£22000 - £25000 per annum: Ashdown Group: A highly successful organisation wit...
£1 per day: Randstad Education Leeds: Job Purpose To work closely with the he...
£32000 - £42000 Per Annum: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: Our client is curr...