Widow 'kept in the dark' over Saudi murder case

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The widow of a Briton killed in a car-bombing in Saudi Arabia has spoken of her "turmoil" over the confusion surrounding the fate of five Britons accused of the bombing campaign in which her husband died.

Jane Rodway, 52, who was sitting next to her husband, Christopher, when the bomb exploded in November 2000, said she feels like a forgotten player in a saga that appears to have no ending. Since the day Mr Rodway, a hospital engineer, was murdered near their home in Riyadh, Mrs Rodway has been given no information by the Saudi authorities, has received precious little help from the Foreign Office and has not even been awarded an insurance payout for her injuries, her husband's death or the destruction of their car.

Yesterday, Jack Straw, the Foreign Secretary, came under pressure from the Conservatives to find out exactly what is happening to the five Britons accused of the bombing campaign between late 2000 and March 2001. Last week, the families of the five, Sandy Mitchell, James Lee, James Cottle, Les Walker and Pete Brandon, were told the men were "secretly" found guilty during hearings last October and in February. It is understood officials told them Mr Mitchell, a Scots anaesthetics technician, could face death by beheading, while the others were sentenced to 18 years each.

Two days ago, however, the Saudis said the judicial process was still under way, a claim endorsed by the Britons' lawyer, Salah Hejailan, who said no final judgment had been made.

The Saudi authorities allege the bombing campaign was related to an alcohol bootlegging "turf war". There is evidence that those charged were involved in the manufacture and sale of illegal alcohol, but not on a grand scale. Inquiries by newspapers have indicated that there was no turf war.

For Mrs Rodway, who now lives in Berkshire, the fresh confusion has brought more pain and anger. "I don't even know why my husband was murdered," she said. "I am in absolute turmoil. I am given details of developments by a Scotland Yard family liaison officer. He called me last week to say that a judicial hearing had taken place and these men had been found guilty, but no one can tell me what they have been found guilty of. I don't know whether they have been found guilty of bombing or murder, because that's what everyone seems to have forgotten: my husband was murdered and I still don't know why, and I still don't know who did it. He wasn't involved in anything illegal. He didn't even know the men the Saudis have arrested.

"The Saudi authorities have told me nothing since the day I left the country. I would like to see the evidence but I doubt if they would show it to me. I am a woman and in Saudi Arabia that means I just don't matter. I can't say whether these men are guilty or innocent because I haven't seen any evidence.

"Eventually the men accused of killing Christopher will go home and their families will see them walk through the door," she said. "I was with Christopher for 24 years. All I know is that I'll never see him walk through the door again."