THE family of a North-East man found dead in a French country lane is launching a charity to help people whose loved ones died abroad.

The mother of Andrew Watt, from Durham City, is working with other bereaved families to form Deaths Abroad – You’re Not Alone (Dayna).

The launch comes as the Foreign Secretary is urged to help answer questions about Mr Watt’s death.

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Mr Watt was found dead about a mile from Vimarce, near Laval, in north-west France, in September 2010. He was 31.

French doctors decided that the former Durham Johnston School pupil died of heart failure.

However, new tests by a UK pathologist do not support this theory.

Announcing the launch of Dayna, Julie Sheppard, Mr Watt’s mother, said: “We don’t want other people to go through what we have.

“A lot of us are still fighting our individual causes, but we all experienced similar problems.”

The charity will offer advice and support to families whose loved ones die abroad.

It will also aim to increase awareness about the difficulties faced by families and raise money to help cover costs.

“We also want to change how the Foreign and Commonwealth Office works in these cases and the support mechanism that should be there, but often isn’t,” she added.

Mrs Sheppard and her husband, Les, who live in Selkirk, Scotland, have written to William Hague asking for his help to get answers and documents from the French authorities.

Despite numerous letters being sent by North-East MEP Fiona Hall, Durham MP Roberta Blackman-Woods and others, the couple are still waiting for witness statements and the judicial inquiry report into the death.

A pathologist report conducted for the Durham coroner revealed that Mr Watt had stomach liquid in his lungs and an unidentifiable drug in his system, which could have killed him.

“This contradicts the French pathologist report,”

said Mrs Sheppard.

“We will be pushing for the case to be reopened in France if answers are not forthcoming.”

After a three-month delay for the return of Mr Watt’s body, it was discovered that major organs, including his brain and heart, were missing.

Mr Watt, who lived in France with his girlfriend, suffered from paranoid schizophrenia.