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Qatari police arrest suspects in British teacher ‘murder’

Lauren Patterson was last seen at a high-end hotel in Doha and was later found dead, her family said.

Qatari police have made a number of arrests in connection to the suspected murder of a 24-year-old British teacher who went missing on Saturday.

Lauren Patterson was last seen at a high-end hotel in Doha and was later found dead, her family and friends said.

Qatar’s ministry of interior said police had “arrested the suspects of a European woman’s murder” but did not disclose the number, gender, age, or nationality of those arrested.

The ministry of interior said on Wednesday night that the suspects had been referred to public prosecution.

The Qatari daily Al Raya reported that authorities had received a security tip and made arrests “within 24 hours”.

Patterson first went missing on Saturday in Doha, British media reported.

The Daily Mail said she was last seen leaving La Cigale hotel, with two men. It is not clear when her body was discovered by authorities or how she died.

Facebook posts by friends and family in the following hours reveal wrenching days of uncertainty after her disappearance.

“If anyone knows of the whereabouts of Lauren Patterson please contact us,” one friend posted on Sunday. “It has been 40 hours since Lauren was last seen in Doha, Qatar and we are in desperate need to find her, please share so we can reach a wider audience”, she wrote — posting similar messages again just hours later.

A day later, Patterson’s mother, Allison, confirmed her daughter’s death, writing on her Facebook page, “She was a truly remarkable girl my rock always there for everyone. I know she’s in heaven now in her Daddy’s arms.”

The UK’s Mirror newspaper quoted Allison Patterson as saying she was in Doha and would remain “for as long as it takes to see that justice is done for my daughter”.

British media said that Patterson was in Doha working as a primary schoolteacher for the Newton British School. The school did not respond to requests for comment and Patterson’s name is not listed on the website as staff.

A spokesman from the UK Embassy said the mission was “aware of a British national Lauren Patterson reported missing in Qatar” and was “providing the family with consular assistance.”

Violent crime is rare in Qatar, but last November an American teacher, Jennifer Brown, was allegedly murdered by a security guard who is now on trial and facing the death penalty.

edickinson@thenational.ae

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