GREEK police have launched a fresh investigation into the suspicious death of a Scots expat on the island of Crete seven years ago, it has emerged.

The body of Jean Hanlon, a 53-year-old former hospital secretary from Dumfries, was found in the sea off the island’s capital Heraklion in March 2009.

Greek officials at first seemed to view Ms Hanlon’s death as an accident after the local coroner declared she had died from drowning after a fall. But her family rejected that explanation and put pressure on the police to conduct a full investigation.

Loading article content

After receiving information from the police, the coroner issued a new report in December 2009, reversing his earlier position to state that Ms Hanlon had died of a neck injury before her body reached the sea.

Ms Hanlon’s three sons have succeeded in forcing police to re- examine the case after handing over their mother’s diary which suggested a relationship with a Greek man had grown tense shortly before she died and she had complained to a friend of being followed by a man in a car on the day she died.

A friend also claimed to have received a text message on the night of her death with the word “help”.

The new investigation has been carried out without any publicity to avoid alerting potential suspects. The police have now sent a new report to a prosecutor in Heraklion. But Ms Hanlon’s family are concerned that the new probe has ignored the suspicions they have raised.

“I don’t think they’ve ever done a really deep, detailed investigation,” said Michael Porter, 31, Ms Hanlon’s youngest son.

Based on what they have heard from their Greek lawyer, the family understands the case has not been solved but fear the prosecutor will decide to shelve the case.

“It took two and a half years to get that case re-opened,” Mr Porter said. “We’ve got to find things that encourage them to keep investigating.”

The family are concerned that the police have not used evidence from Ms Hanlon’s diary that her sons handed over soon after her death or followed up on all potential leads.

At a meeting in London last week, the Foreign Office agreed to help Ms Hanlon’s family arrange to meet the prosecutor. The meeting was arranged by Dumfries and Galloway MP Richard Arkless, who has written to Prime Minister Theresa May asking her to support the family’s campaign.

“The most important thing is for this case to be investigated as thoroughly as possible. That is everyone’s priority,” Mr Arkless said.

He has asked to meet Mrs May to discuss if the Foreign Office could review its support for families who lose a loved one abroad. At the moment, the Government can offer advice to such families but does not provide financial assistance for services such as translation or the repatriation of a body.