SUTTON: Family searching for answers over Claire’s tragic death

A heartbroken Sutton couple say they will never give up in their fight for answers about their daughter’s violent and sudden death in Italy last year - despite the Italian authorities’ refusal to tell them anything.

By Helen Beighton
Tuesday, 15th October 2013, 2:03 pm
Pat and Ray Martin of Sutton, who believe their daughter Claire was murdered in Italy.
Pat and Ray Martin of Sutton, who believe their daughter Claire was murdered in Italy.

Claire Martin (30) died from multiple stab wounds to the neck in an unexplained incident that occurred in March last year in a small village about an hour from Naples, where she lived.

But 19 months on, her parents Pat and Ray Martin, of Mansfield Road, Sutton, do not even know the answers to basic questions such as what time their daughter died, let alone anything about the circumstances that led to her death.

“We have been treated disgustingly,” said Pat (57).

“We feel the Italian authorities have lied to us on more than one occasion and we feel we are being fobbed off.

“When we came home, the British authorities didn’t want anything to do with us.

“We are not going away. We will fight this to get justice for our daughter if it takes us the rest of our lives.”

Claire lived in Italy with her Italian partner of 13 years, Diego, and their baby son Alex, who was 14 months old when she died.

She was stabbed just outside the villa where Diego’s parents live - but the exact events surrounding her death remain a mystery to her parents.

Official reports give conflicting views about whether it was murder or suicide, but her family do not believe that she took her own life in such a manner.

The Martins are Claire’s next of kin, but from the moment they arrived in Italy, the Italian police and the magistrate who was in charge of the case refused to answer any of their questions.

They even had to wait more than three weeks to see Claire’s body and do not know who formally identified her.

Despite weekly requests for updates they were never given any and they only found out by chance that the magistrate was closing the preliminary investigation in July, stating that suicide was the likely cause of death, because the Foreign Office called for an update.

The result had been sent to the family’s lawyer as non-urgent and by second class post, even though there is only a ten day window to lodge an appeal.

The lawyer in Italy did manage to lodge an appeal and they now have access to all of the investigation files and are hoping that more information will come to light.

Said Ray (58): “Our main problem is that the Italians have done an inadequate investigation.

“We know that from more than one point. What we want is for the British government to call on them to do a proper investigation.”

When they returned to Britain, the Martins were given no support from the Foreign Office or any other authority.

Nobody offered any help with their case despite the family’s letters, emails and phonecalls to anybody they could think of who might be able to provide assistance.

“We were in Italy for eight weeks,” said Pat, who was a nurse at King’s Mill Hospital.

“When we eventually got through the nightmare of Claire’s funeral and came home, we didn’t get any help.

“We didn’t know where to turn. I was breaking down everyday and have had to officially retire.”

She added: “We feel let down by everybody really.”

After contacting Nottinghamshire Police the Martins were eventually given support from family liaison officers and Victim Support volunteers and the police are now working with them on the case.

They have had two meetings with the Foreign Office, the latest of which was last week.

They are hoping that pressure can be put on the Italian authorities to re-open the investigation into Claire’s death - and find out who killed her.

“I write a diary everyday and I could write a book. It would be a farce if it had not been because my daughter had lost her life in the middle of it,” said Pat.

“[The Italians] have done our daughter a great injustice and they can’t be allowed to get away with it.”