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Commonwealth Games 2002

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Wednesday, 1 May, 2002, 14:36 GMT 15:36 UK
No 'closure' for Leeds widow
Kevin Speight and Chris Loftus
Kevin Speight and Christopher Loftus
The wife of one of the murdered Leeds United fans has been prevented from grieving properly by the lengthy legal process, said her solicitor.

John Howe said any appeal would prevent Susan Speight from "achieving closure" almost two years after her husband, Kevin, was stabbed to death.

Mr Speight, 37, and 40-year-old Christopher Loftus died during disturbances the night before Leeds played a Uefa Cup semi-final against Galatasaray in Istanbul.

Ali Umit Demir was found guilty of killing with provocation and sentenced to seven-and-a-half years for each murder. Four other Turkish men were jailed for three months and 22 days for their involvement in the May 2000 incident.


To a certain extent it is an irrelevance what sentence was passed

John Howe, solicitor for Susan Speight

Mr Howe said: "We are still awaiting a full report of what happened in court from our agent in Turkey.

"But I am sure that things won't end here and that an appeal will result from the verdict.

"Obviously this has been dragging on for a year and Susan has to go through the grieving process.

"But she has not been able to achieve closure on this and any appeal in Turkey will simply exacerbate her situation.

"On one hand she's relieved the case has come to a conclusion but another reaction is her concern about the leniency of the sentence.

"To a certain extent it is an irrelevance what sentence was passed. It will never compensate her for the loss she has had to endure."

Mr Howe said he wanted particular clarification on the three-month sentences given to four of the men found guilty of involvement in the killings.

'Feel resentful'

Mr Howe said: "There seems to be a disparity in these sentences, which I will have to look at closely."

Andy Peterson, editor of Leeds fanzine The Square Ball, said: "I'm pleased that someone has received something that sounds like a substantial jail term for what happened.

"I think it's very strange that it has taken the judicial process over two years to reach this point.

"It has been a big strain on the fans and on the families of the two dead men.

"A lot of people over there for the game still feel very resentful about what happened.

"It would be nice to think that Galatasaray could now accept some culpability and offer some financial contribution to the two families."


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See also:

01 May 02 | Europe
Leeds fans' night in 'Hell'
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