Andrew De Vries

Fiona De Vries

THE widow of Scots oilman Andrew De Vries has agreed to settle a

wrongful death suit against the homeowner who shot dead her husband in

Houston, Texas, after mistaking him for a burglar.

At the same time, the mother of Mr De Vries has criticised Prime

Minister John Major for his refusal to press the US authorities to

launch an investigation into her son's death.

Ms Lissa Wilson, a legal assistant to Mr William Book, the lawyer for

homeowner Jeffrey Agee, said yesterday: ''It's settled and it's

confidential.'' She declined to comment on a report in the Houston Post

quoting unidentified sources as saying the settlement was about $270,000


Mrs Alison De Vries, of Aberdeen, had been seeking several million

dollars in damages, alleging there was no justification for Mr Agee's

shooting of her 29-year-old husband on January 7.

The legal claim, filed in February, came one week after a Houston

grand jury decided not to indict Mr Agee on murder charges. Mr Agee, a

geologist, told police he shot Mr De Vries, who was in Houston on

business, because he thought he was trying to break into his home after

pounding on his door at 4am.

Ms Wilson said of the settlement that Mr Agee was ''just glad that

it's all over with''. Mr De Vries's lawyer, Mr Windle Turley, of Dallas,

was unavailable for comment.

The criticism of the Prime Minister came from the dead man's mother,

Mrs Fiona De Vries, after Mr Major was quizzed during Question Time in

the Commons by Dundee East MP John McAllion.

Mr Major said it was not for the Government to campaign on the matter

and that the family should put their case for a federal investigation to

the US legal authorities.

Mrs De Vries said: ''Mr Major's response was disappointing and

predictable. He doesn't want to rock the boat when it comes to the

United States. People should be aware that if they become innocent

victims of crime in Texas they cannot expect help from the Government,

the Foreign Office or the British Consulate.''

She added: ''We will undoubtedly be continuing the campaign for an

investigation into Andrew's death.''

In the Commons, Mr McAllion called on Mr Major to overrule the Foreign

Office which he said ''have steadfastly refused any kind of Government

support for the family's campaign''.

Mr Major told him the Government was prepared to offer the family

advice but said the best way forward was for the parents of the dead man

to put their points to a lawyer in the United States and be guided by

his advice.

Mr McAllion said the De Vries family had been campaigning for a

federal investigation into the misconduct of the investigation by the

authorities in Houston.

The MP said the family's investigation had ''uncovered many

inconsistencies, indeed blatant lies,'' in the flawed official version

of the events.