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Fundraiser for family of murdered teacher Lauren Patterson to be held at The Swan pub in West Malling

By Mary Graham

A fundraising evening is to be held in the memory of a murdered teacher.

Lauren Patterson, who grew up in Leybourne Chase, West Malling, was killed in Qatar in October 2013. She had been working in the city's Newton British School and went missing after a night out in Doha.

The 24-year-old’s body was found badly burned and with a knife still stuck in her ribcage, dumped in a remote part of the desert.

Lauren Patterson with her mum Alison
Lauren Patterson with her mum Alison

Burned beyond recognition, the corpse had to be identified using comparison with her mother's DNA.

Her mother, Alison, has been campaigning for years to get justice for her daughter and has suffered a series of cruel setbacks.

In 2014, Badr Hashim Khamis Abdallah al-Jabr was given the death sentence for murdering Miss Patterson.

A second man Mohamed Abdallah Hassan Abdul Aziz, received a three-year sentence for helping to dispose of the body. He has since been freed.

al-Jabr twice appealed, but the sentence was upheld both times.

However, his third appeal at the end of 2018 was successful in slashing his punishment, and will now only serve 10 years in jail. He had already been behind bars for around five years, so could be out within five years.

Lauren Patterson who was killed after a night out
Lauren Patterson who was killed after a night out

When news first emerged of the latest appeal Mrs Patterson said: “To say I am lost for words is an understatement.”

Mrs Patterson and fellow campaigners have organised a Sparkling Soiree at The Swan in West Malling's Swan Street. Taking place on Friday, May 10, from 7.30pm it will include live entertainment, a raffle, silent auction and canapes. Tickets cost £20.

The family hope people will come along and businesses may be able to help with prizes for the raffle and silent auction. They would also love to hear from any DJs or musicians who can offer their services. The evening is to help pay for the costs Mrs Patterson has had to find in travelling to Doha, more than 4,000 miles away to attend various court hearings and briefings.

Doha in Qatar where Lauren Patterson was teaching
Doha in Qatar where Lauren Patterson was teaching

A Go Fund Me page has already secured £48,000 but Mrs Patterson still faces paying for ongoing costs and outstanding legal fees after having made more than 30 visits to the Gulf state.

Thanking everyone for their donations, Mrs Patterson wrote: "I am one woman, a small voice against a judicial system I don't understand. With many voices maybe justice will prevail. I have no money left to continually travel to Qatar and for the new court cases."

If you can help email JUSTICEFORLAURENPATTERSON@OUTLOOK.COM

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