Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 6 December 2019

Family fear British teacher's Qatari killer could be released within weeks

Lawyers fail to increase the 10-year jail term for the man who murdered Lauren Patterson

Lauren Patterson was murdered in 2013 and her body set on fire. The National
Lauren Patterson was murdered in 2013 and her body set on fire. The National

The killer of a young British teacher in Qatar could be released within weeks after an appeal to increase his sentence failed, the family of the victim has said.

Badr Hashim Khamis Abdallah Al Jabr was found guilty of murdering Lauren Patterson, 24, in 2014 and sentenced to death.

Her body was found badly burned and with a knife still stuck in her ribcage in a remote area of desert in the country in 2013.

Al Jabr’s sentence was later reduced to a 10-year jail term, which lawyers for Ms Patterson’s family have since been fighting to overturn.

On Monday, Ms Patterson’s mother, Alison, revealed the appeal had failed and that her daughter’s killer could soon be freed.

Each year in Qatar, some prisoners are pardoned for good behaviour and released early.

Al Jabr could potentially be freed on the country’s National Day, December 18.

“Feeling sick, shocked, disgusted and angry the Qatari court has upheld the 10-year sentence,” Mrs Patterson said on Facebook. “I will never give up – Lauren deserves justice.”

She also told the BBC: “There is the possibility that he [Al Jabr] could stay in another four years, but there is also the possibility he could get off for good behaviour.

“Also in Qatar, twice a year they pardon prisoners. So, for example, he could be pardoned this December on their National Day.”

Ms Patterson, from West Malling, Kent, moved to the Qatari capital Doha to train as a reception teacher.

She had been working at Newton British School when she disappeared following a night out.

Prosecutors detailed how Al Jabr murdered her and then, with an accomplice, loaded her body into a boot of a car and drove into the desert.

They then set fire to her body, and a falconer later discovered her remains while hunting.

Mrs Patterson has made more than 30 trips to Qatar since her daughter’s death, establishing a fundraising page to support her legal challenge.

A spokesman for the Foreign Office said: “Our staff have been supporting the family of Lauren Patterson throughout the legal process and will continue to support them following their tragic loss.”

Updated: November 19, 2019 01:24 PM

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