Police treating Crete death as murder

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Police investigating the death of a British woman whose body was found in a harbour on the Greek island of Crete are treating the case as murder, her family said today.

Tourist industry worker Jean Hanlon, 53, of Dumfries, disappeared in March last year in mysterious circumstances and her body was found four days later in the sea off Heraklion.

Her family have campaigned for more than a year to find out what happened to her in the hours before her death after a local coroner initially ruled she died as a result of an accident.

They said a Greek magistrate has now publicly declared the case is being treated by police as murder and two men have been arrested and named by the authorities as suspects.

Michael Porter, 25, said police revealed his mother suffered a broken neck before she went into the water and also had minor injuries to her face and neck, consistent with a struggle.

He said: "This gives us confirmation that we were right to be suspicious all along and now we want our country to help us.

"We cannot afford to go out there again, we have not got a translator or legal aid and it is a battle to get justice for my mum.

"It worries and concerns me that many other families may have been told their loved ones died in an accident and have not persisted like us.

"Now we want to get out there and get these questions answered straight away."

Mrs Hanlon, previously known as Jean Porter, disappeared on March 9 last year but police and British Embassy officials in Greece were not informed until several days later.

She had moved to the village of Kato Gouves four years earlier to work in the seasonal tourism trade and returned to England and Scotland regularly to visit her family, including her three sons.

Mr Porter, a musical theatre performer from Mansfield, said the last anyone heard of her was after she met a man at a bar in Heraklion.

He said she spoke to a friend on the telephone saying she wanted to get away and sounded as if she had been drugged. She later sent a text message with the single word: "Help."

Mr Porter added: "It does not make sense. There are a lot of questions I want to know the answer to that we know that police have investigated.

"It is a lack of communication and the language barrier. I am not criticising the Greek authorities for not doing anything. We just do not know what they have done because they will not tell us."

The Porters' Greek solicitor, Aggelos Zervos, said the death of Mrs Hanlon is now being treated as suspected murder.

In an email to the family, he said: "I would like to inform you that as concerning your mother's case, criminal proceedings were brought against the suspects by the Attorney."

The family has campaigned to bring the case into the public spotlight on social networking site Facebook.