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Heather Saunders
"Stephen was my life"
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Saturday, 10 June, 2000, 12:05 GMT 13:05 UK
Yard joins diplomat murder inquiry

Police seal off Brigadier Saunders' car after the murder
Members of Scotland Yard's anti-terrorist squad and the Foreign Office are to meet Greek police investigating the murder of British defence attaché Stephen Saunders.

Brigadier Saunders, 52, was shot dead by two people on a motorbike as he drove to work at the British Embassy in Athens on Thursday morning.

Greek guerrilla group November 17 has admitted carrying out the killing, saying it was because he had played a role in the Kosovo conflict.

A Foreign Office spokesman said all details of the investigators' visit were being kept secret, because of security concerns.

On Friday, Brigadier Saunders' widow made a tearful appeal to the Greek public for information on her husband's killers.

Heather Saunders said the gunmen had destroyed her and her family and they must be brought to justice.

Heather Saunders in tears
Heather Saunders makes an emotional appeal
Outside her Athens home, with her two teenage daughters at her side, she said: "Stephen was my life. I stand before you half the person I was yesterday morning.

"Anyone who saw anything, even a little thing, please tell the police."

Mrs Saunders said her husband was a loving father and "a man committed to peace" who had never raised his gun to kill anyone.

Even when he came under fire himself during a posting to Northern Ireland, Brigadier Saunders, refused to shoot back for fear of injuring innocent bystanders, she said.

Investigation help

Security for the visiting British defence procurement minister, Baroness Symons, and embassy staff has been stepped up.

November 17
No member has ever been caught
CIA Athens chief was first victim in 1975
Trademark use of .45-calibre pistol
Nationalist, anti-Western and anti-capitalist
Opposes Greek participation in Nato and EU
November 17 admitted carrying out the attack in a 13-page statement sent to the left-wing Greek newspaper, Eleftherotypia.

The group blamed Brigadier Saunders' participation in programming allied operations against Serbia.

But the Ministry of Defence denies he was involved in planning or coordinating the bombing campaign.

MoD chiefs said the brigadier took up his post after the bombings on Serbia had started. But they said he was involved in helping to smooth the transit of British troops serving with Nato in Kosovo through the Greek port of Salonika.

Nato's air action against Yugoslavia was massively unpopular in Greece, with opinion polls showing the public united against it.

The UK Foreign Office denied that British security officials had been sent to press Greek investigators to find the killers.

"Greece invited us to send out policemen to provide expertise and help with any information that might be useful to them," a spokesman said.

"A Foreign Office security expert is going out to review the security of the embassy and embassy staff," he added.

Greek Foreign Minister George Papandreou promised "to do everything possible to bring the perpetrators to justice".

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