Sunday, September 25, 2022

Ockendon mother pleads for justice for her son after murder in Spain

A SOUTH Ockendon mother has slammed the Government for its lack of support in the five years since her son was murdered in Spain.

Paul Fether was stabbed to death in April 2010 in the resort of Benalmadena on the Costa del Sol.

His mother Beryl Fether had to borrow more than £12,000 from family and friends to bring his body back home so she could bury him with her husband in The Priory Church of St Laurence in Blackmore.

The 67-year-old this week blasted the Foreign Office and Government, saying they should be ashamed at the lack of support they have offered her since Paul’s death.

Despite numerous calls, she said no one has even told her that two men have been charged with the aggravated murder of her son.

Paul, who was 31, had been staying in Spain for only a few months when the attack took place. Reports say he was killed after his girlfriend unwittingly opened the front door of their flat to two men wearing balaclavas, who then set upon him for an hour with kicks, punches and a knife.

Beryl last saw Paul in early 2010 when a friend picked him up from the family home in Blackmore for what she had expected to be a weekend away redecorating a villa in Spain.

She says there can be no closure until she is able to visit where he died, collect his possessions and attend a trial.

But with no one at the Foreign Office or any of the Spanish authorities offering any information and assistance, she says she is at a loss to know what to do next.

"It’s been a nightmare and it’s as if you don’t exist," she told the Brentwood Gazette.

"Something has happened to someone and you can’t find out any information whatsoever. We need answers.

"Every time I phone the Spanish police all I get is, ‘no comprendo’.

"I call the Foreign Office but every time I phone them, all I get told to do is phone a different number and then a different number after that. It’s just hopeless."

Paul, who was brought up in Canning Town before moving to Blackmore at the age of 11, had set up his own business and had bought a house in St Helen’s Mews, a modern housing development off Ongar High Street.

But his painting, decorating and building business failed and his house was repossessed the year before his death.

He moved back to his mum’s house in St Lawrence Gardens, Blackmore, before leaving for Spain.

Beryl continued: "I want people to know that Paul Fether was a person and I was his mum.

"I don’t know why he was murdered. I can only find out things through pure luck or by someone else telling me.

"It is not nice when your son gets murdered and you have a complete stranger ask if that was Paul in the paper the other day.

"I’ve been told I’m not even allowed to claim compensation because I was not his dependant."

Beryl, who now lives in South Ockendon, has even kept back one of the two bedrooms for Paul, just like she did in Blackmore, and has pictures of him placed all over the house.

Dubliners Brian McConville, 30, and Wayne Lennon, 38, have been charged with the aggravated murder of Paul.

McConville was arrested in Germany in May 2013 and Lennon in the Algarve, Portugal, in 2011.

No date has been set at this stage for their trial.

Sharon McGovern, who has known Beryl for several years, said Paul had the biggest heart.

She said: "Beryl talks to Paul every day. He is around all the time and she never stops crying for him.

"I knew Paul for many years and he was a good lad. He had the biggest heart. He would have done anything for anyone and he adored his mum.

"He was only going away for a weekend but it just so happened the job carried over.

"That was the last she saw of him. To have that – from saying I’ll see you Monday to never coming back – has been awful.

"He has his own bedroom here, even though he is dead. Because she has no closure he is still here with her. There is no acceptance of his death.

"Your son gets murdered and all you want is something like a jumper for the scent of your son and something that belongs to him."

Sharon echoed Beryl’s pleas for help from the authorities.

"We need to get Beryl the help she needs to get abroad," she said.

"If there is anyone out there who can help whether it is the Foreign Office, the Government or people on the street – I don’t care.

"This lady needs help and our whole Government and all the services are saying there is nothing we can do to help you.

"That is what it feels like – like she has had a hand put in front of her face and people saying they don’t want to know."

A spokesman for the Foreign Office provided a number for Beryl to ring the consulate service in Spain.

He said: "We can confirm the death of a British national, Paul Michael Fether, in Benalmadena, Spain, on April 24, 2010. We provided consular assistance at that time."

He added that Spanish authorities are not obliged to inform Foreign Office officials of progress in criminal investigations.


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