British victim returned to 'dream job' just one day before attack

Click to follow
The Independent Online

The British woman who was one of 20 people killed in the bombing of the United Nations headquarters in Baghdad on Tuesday had returned to the Iraqi capital just a day before the attack.

Fiona Watson, 34, went back to her "dream job" as a political analyst at the UN after her summer holiday, including a visit to her native Scotland.

Her adoptive father, Andrew, speaking from the family home in the fishing village of Pittenweem, Fife, said: "This was Fiona's dream job. She loved what she was doing. She was an extremely bright, gifted, beautiful, loving girl who cared for people. She was based in New York but [had] only just gone back to Iraq two days ago after being on holiday. We're all terribly upset."

Two months ago Ms Watson, who was single, was posted to Baghdad as a political analyst in the UN's Department of Political Affairs, where she worked in the same first-floor office as Sergio Vieira de Mello, the UN's special representative in Iraq, who also died in Tuesday's suicide bombing.

Ms Watson graduated from Heriot-Watt University, Edinburgh, with a first-class degree in interpretation and translation, specialising in French, and gained a masters degree in international relations at Cambridge before joining the UN four years ago.

A spokeswoman for Heriot-Watt University said: "We are desperately sorry to hear about this. It is an absolute tragedy to hear that one of our graduates ... has died in this way. Our thoughts are with her family and friends."

Ms Watson's home of Pittenweem falls within the North East Fife constituency of Menzies Campbell, the Liberal Democrat foreign affairs spokesman. He said: "The whole community in North East Fife will be deeply saddened today ... Those who serve the UN in difficult and dangerous places deserve our gratitude and admiration."