Kirsty Maxwell’s family launch death support charity
Ms Maxwell, 27, from Livingston, was in the Spanish resort with a group of friends for a hen party in April 2017 and had returned from a night out when she fell from the balcony of a tenth-floor apartment.
A Spanish judge has ruled her death was an accident, but Ms Maxwell’s family are still unhappy with the way the investigation was conducted.
Her father, Brian Curry, described how the family had flown to Benidorm as soon as they learned of the tragedy, but arrived in the early hours of the morning with no-one to meet them and nowhere to stay. It took them two days to find out where Ms Maxwell’s body was. Mr Curry said they had no translator to help them understand police reports, they struggled to find a lawyer and they received limited help from the Foreign & Commonwealth Office (FCO).
Now Mr Curry said the family do not want any others to have to experience the same difficulties at such a traumatic time. The Kirsty Maxwell Charity aims to offer advice and support to families who have to cope with a loved one dying abroad in suspicious or unexplained circumstances. Mr Curry said: “When something happens abroad, you always hear the FCO are helping people. We hear it now and we go ‘that’s not true’. They do what they can, but they work within such a really tight remit that we know it just doesn’t happen. You’ve really got to help yourself.”
The first things a family may need are legal advice and a good translator. The charity hopes to be able to help people find the assistance they need.
“That first 48 hours, if you can get that help, it can go a long way,” said Mr Curry. “We didn’t really have that help. We really missed out.” And he said little had changed in the past three years.
“We want to make sure there is something in place for people like us so they don’t have to go through this again.”
Livingston SNP MP Hannah Bardell and her MSP colleague Angela Constance have both campaigned for more to be done for families whose loved ones die abroad.
Ms Constance has spoken of the “myriad of hoops and hurdles” relatives can face and the need for more practical assistance.
A statement said the FCO gives “professional and empathetic support”.