Ten years after his son died abroad in mysterious circumstances, a businessman joined families on a national protest to fight for justice for their loved ones
Keith Haworth was among protesters from SAMM (Support After Murder and Manslaughter) Abroad outside the Foreign and Commonwealth Office in London last week.
Ten years ago - on October 31, 2003 - Keith’s son Liam, who was 24, died in suspicious circumstances in Holland, where he had been working as a builder.
Along with Mr Haworth, who runs Keith’s Sale Rooms at Lydgate, Todmorden, Liam had been due to return home a day later.
Mr Haworth has serious concerns about the investigation by the Dutch police and believes justice has not been done.
SAMM’s protest, which has received national coverage, was to encourage greater understanding for the victims of sudden deaths overseas - situations which, Mr Haworth says, “leaves families in limbo”.
“It’s been ten years since Liam’s death. I have to deal with the fact the police didn’t do their job over there,” he said.
“They just shut the investigation. That’s the disappointing thing. If it was in England I could argue with the police but I can’t go over there and argue with the Dutch police.
“That’s when we need the Foreign Office to become involved. We need them on board.
“The Dutch say it would be a big thing to re-open the case but the Foreign Office could put pressure on them to do it.”
Four years ago Mr Haworth told the Todmorden News how he had spoken to Liam just hours before his death and his son had expressed concerns about the situation in which he found himself with people with whom he had gone out drinking. The next morning he was told his son had died, and Liam’s salary money - drawn out because he was going home to Burnley the next morning - was missing.
The Dutch police told him that because tests had revealed Liam’s blood sugar was low following a drinking session, the investigation would go no further. Mr Haworth argues the Dutch police did not investigate the circumstances of Liam’s death properly and believes his son was drugged and robbed.
The only people they interviewed were two men he believes may have been complicit. At a post-mortem held back in Burnley ten days later a very high reading of temazepam was found in Liam’s stomach, explainable by him taking sleeping tablets containing the drug for a number of years, Mr Haworth said.
What could not be explained was the presence of a small amount of methadone, which the public prosecutor’s office in Rotterdam considered in later correspondence with him to be low when compared to usual concentrations.
Whether there had been a robbery or how the latter drug got into Liam’s system was never satisfactorily investigated or explained, Mr Haworth alleges.
An inquest, finally held in the UK two years after Liam’s death, recorded an open verdict, which he said was “devastating”.
Ten years on, Mr Haworth has not given up seeking justice for his son - but he believes it would need help from something like the Foreign Office to achieve it.