Foreign Office pledge to help family of murdered Sunderland holidaymaker

Joe Arthur, killed in Greece
Joe Arthur, killed in Greece
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JUSTICE could be one step closer for the family of Joe Arthur after the Foreign Office agreed to take up their cause.

The 34-year-old, from Grindon, was killed while on holiday in Corfu with partner Leigh-Ann Bennett and their two children in 2006.

His loved one’s hopes for justice were recently dashed when a long-awaited trial – of a South African barman accused of inflicting the fatal blows, and two hospital medics charged with neglect leading to manslaughter – was cancelled at the last minute.

Houghton and Sunderland MP South Bridget Phillipson had raised the issue in the House of Commons.

Now it has been revealed she also spoke to the Foreign Office and got a commitment from Minister David Lidington they would raise the matter with Greece.

With the trial rescheduled for Monday, the pressure is on to ensure a proper hearing takes place.

Mrs Phillipson said: “Because of the urgency of the case I met with Foreign Office minister David Lidington on Thursday having raised the issue in the House of Commons that day.

“The Minister agreed that the Foreign Office would make enquiries about that case and the upcoming trial.

“I’m hopeful that the Minister’s involvement will bring pressure on the Greek government to act.

“The family have waited for a long time for justice and justice is what they deserve.”

Joe’s sister, Joanne, welcomed the news that the Government was getting involved.

She said: “It’s definitely a step in the right direction. Hopefully, the more coverage of the case the more people will take notice.

“We are travelling over on Saturday for the trial on Monday, but past experiences have shown us that it might not go ahead.

“As the Government are now involved hopefully they can give us some indication of how things will happen.

“Maybe they will sit up and realise that we are not going away.

“We want it to be done in the right way, and with Bridget involved it may increase the pressure on the Greek government.

“It’s hard to put it into words what it would mean if we got some answers and we just want the case to go ahead so we can have closure.

“We can’t put it behind us yet until we know the truth, and we still feel angry we haven’t really had the chance to put him to rest properly.”

Twitter: @tomwhite7