BBC NEWS Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific
BBCi NEWS   SPORT   WEATHER   WORLD SERVICE   A-Z INDEX     

BBC News World Edition
    You are in: UK  
News Front Page
Africa
Americas
Asia-Pacific
Europe
Middle East
South Asia
UK
England
N Ireland
Scotland
Wales
Politics
Education
Business
Entertainment
Science/Nature
Technology
Health
-------------
Talking Point
-------------
Country Profiles
In Depth
-------------
Programmes
-------------
BBC Sport
BBC Weather
SERVICES
-------------
EDITIONS
 Tuesday, 31 December, 2002, 00:35 GMT
Widow who fought for justice
Heather Saunders at her husband Stephen's funeral
Heather Saunders at her husband Stephen's funeral
As Heather Saunders - wife of murdered Brigadier Stephen - is awarded an OBE for her campaign to find his killers, BBC News Online looks at her tireless fight for justice.

"I only hope the people that carried out this cowardly act on an unarmed man on his way to work will realise the total devastation that they have caused.

"Not only have they killed my husband, but they have now destroyed me and my entire family."

Brigadier Stephen Saunders
Stephen Saunders - killed in June 2000 by N17 group

Heather Saunders' powerful appeal for justice outside the gates of the British Embassy in Athens came only hours after the death of her husband.

Brigadier Stephen Saunders was killed in June 2000 by motorcycle gunmen as he drove to work at the embassy through the Athens traffic.

Despite the horror, she immediately threw herself into a relentless pursuit for justice.

A campaign which has so far resulted in 17 suspects, including the group's alleged leader and top gunman, being arrested.

All, said to be members of the secretive November 17 terror group, are in custody pending trial.

Real help

Mother-of-two Mrs Saunders, 45, of Melbury Osmond, Dorset, spoke of her surprise at being awarded an OBE for her headline-grabbing work.

She said: "My speaking out was so hard but it really did help.

N17 terrorist group logo
N17 terrorist group logo

"It was a bit monotonous but I think people should speak out and say how they feel.

"Of course emotions make it very difficult but life does go on so now I have to smile.

"This honour is positive, it's something nice and makes me think it wasn't all in vain."

Following her husband's murder, Mrs Saunders worked round-the-clock for a breakthrough.

Badgered Athens motorists

She even handed out stickers to motorists in Athens urging them to help police.

Mrs Saunders also pressurised the Greek and British authorities to pursue the killers.

In October, she even filed a civil action allowing her to take part in the trial of the 17 suspected group members.

The terror group, which eluded authorities for decades, is blamed for 23 murders since 1975.

The proclamation issued by November 17 since Brigadier Saunders' killing said he was chosen because of the Nato campaign in Kosovo.

"It's not blood that I seek in revenge," Mrs Saunders told the Guardian earlier this year.

"I just want these people deprived of their freedom and taken away from their family and loved ones as I, my two daughters and my mother-in-law were taken away from ours."


Top stories

Key honours

Other awards

AUDIO VIDEO

TALKING POINT
Links to more UK stories are at the foot of the page.


E-mail this story to a friend

Links to more UK stories

© BBC ^^ Back to top

News Front Page | Africa | Americas | Asia-Pacific | Europe | Middle East |
South Asia | UK | Business | Entertainment | Science/Nature |
Technology | Health | Talking Point | Country Profiles | In Depth |
Programmes