British woman starves to death in the Caribbean
Friday 29 October 2010
The family of a woman who starved to death after leaving Britain for a new life in the Caribbean has called for a full investigation, it emerged today.
Virginia Owen, from Berkshire, moved to the Dominican Republic four years ago with £200,000 in life savings after her 15-year marriage collapsed, according to reports.
The 48-year-old settled in the beach town of Sosua where she met a Swedish man and the couple moved in together.
But after concerns for her safety, her brother Daniel Walkley, 40, flew out to the island earlier this month.
When he arrived at her two-bedroom apartment he said he found her looking emaciated and called an ambulance but she died a few hours later.
Her boyfriend was reportedly arrested but released without charge.
Ms Owen's relatives told reporters they were trying "all channels" to find out what happened.
Speaking to the BBC, her mother Rosemary Walkley, 73, from Weston-Super-Mare in Somerset, said: "She sold all her property and sold her shares and went over to the Dominican Republic to start a new life in paradise."
But concern grew for Ms Owen after the family struggled to get in touch with her and started receiving threatening emails which they did not believe she had written.
Her parents received the last email the day before she died. Given how ill Ms Owen was they said there was no way their daughter could have written it.
After receiving the email, Mrs Walkley spoke to her daughter's boyfriend on the telephone.
She told the BBC: "I could hear my daughter moaning in agony and he said she was hallucinating and he couldn't get her to hospital.
"She went over there with £200,000, but he said they couldn't afford a doctor.
"I said 'put her in hospital, we'll pay the bill'."
Ms Owen's father, John Walkley, reportedly said that when his son went out to check on his sister "he picked her up and she didn't weigh any more than our little grandson who's just over a year old".
Ms Owen was taken to an American hospice where she died on October 12.
The family has been told a post-mortem examination revealed she had starved to death.
A spokesman for the Foreign and Commonwealth Office said: "We can confirm the death of a UK national in the Dominican Republic. We are providing consular assistance to the next of kin."
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