A MOTHER whose son died suddenly in France has set up camp outside the Foreign Office as part of her quest to find out what happened to him.
Andrew Watt, 31, from Durham City, was found dead about a mile from Vimarce, near Laval, in North-West France, in September 2010.
In the seven years since Julie Sheppard, his mother, has been trying to find out what happened to the former Durham Johnston student and is calling for the Foreign Office to get involved so a full investigation can take place.
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An inquest held in 2015 recorded an open verdict, finding the cause of death could not be ascertained.
French doctors said he had died of heart failure.
Mrs Sheppard, who now lives near Selkirk in the Scottish Borders, said: “The inquest happened in June 2015 and to be honest it knocked the wind out of my sails because it was clear it was going to be left to us to find some more evidence for the to look at the case again.
“Really we need some help. People don’t listen to you unless you have backing."
She added: "I don't know what to do so I'm camping here day in and day out.
"I can't live with myself if I can't do something to find out what happened. I've got to the point where I'm not going to be fobbed off any more."
In preparation for the inquest, which was held in Crook, Mr Watt's family went to France to carry out their own investigations. Mrs Sheppard said their efforts revealed a number of contradiction and anomalies in the official reports.
She says French police failed to carry out house-to-house inquiries near the scene and a Gendarmerie report said Mr Watt had committed suicide but did not offer evidence to support the theory.
Mr Watt was found with a broken ankle and bruising and scratches to his torso – injuries she says have never been explained.
A Foreign Office spokesman said: “Our thought remain with Mr Watt’s family as they continue to examine the circumstances of his death.
“The investigation into his death is a matter for the French authorities because we cannot interfere in the legal and judicial proceedings of another country, just as we would not allow them to interfere in the UK.”
Mrs Sheppard, who is protesting outside the Foreign Office in London, said: "I have seen the Foreign Office’s response and it’s the same old story. They can’t interfere in another country’s legal or judicial system.
“We don’t want them to, we some want some help. What we want is to set up a conversation where there could be a possible local inquiry to try and put together a picture.
"I can’t understand why they won’t help us. If there's nothing to hide I don't see why they shouldn't do that.
"We feel there are too many discrepancies in this case to brush them aside."