The family of a Scottish woman who was allegedly raped and beaten to death in Eilat has accused Israeli police of ignoring key witnesses, possibly because her tourist visa had expired, Britain's Daily Record reported on Sunday.
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“We fear a whitewash because Julie was in Israel on a tourist visa which had run out and was technically there illegally,” asserted her aunt, Deobrah Pearson.
Julie Pearson, 38, died on November 27 after her Palestinian boyfriend, Amjab Hatib, had allegedly beaten her. The family says it was not informed of her death for four days.
Hatib, who had been jailed for a month over a previous assault on Pearson, fled Eilat after she died and was eventually arrested, but he was released on bail two weeks ago pending an autopsy report, according to the Daily Record.
Meanwhile, two acquaintances say they have valuable information, which the victim's family says it fears the police have ignored.
According to one close friend, Julie told her that Hatib had beaten her, just one day before she died.
“Julie went to one female friend and told her that she was in terrible pain from a beating Hatib had given her the day before she died," Deborah Pearson recalled. “She told her friend she felt sick and dizzy and promised to report Hatib to the police a second time."
Another witness, Pearson's former employer, asserts he found a man who heard screams coming from the victim's room only hours before her death, the Daily Record reported.
“These two witnesses have told me that they have repeatedly tried to give statements to the police," said Julie's aunt, Deborah Pearson. “But each time they have been told that the case is closed. How can the case be closed when we don’t even have the cause of death or the results of the autopsy?"
Her aunt stressed, “Julie’s face was covered in bruises and the funeral director told us there was further bruising to her body.”
According to Deborah Pearson, Julie never got a chance to go back to the police. “Hatib and two of his friends attacked her at the Dolphin hostel," she said. "Julie’s friends went to the Dolphin and were both told by another witness he could hear Julie begging for help because she was being raped and beaten but nobody intervened.”
According to the Daily Record, Julie visited Eilat with her father, John, in 2004, but elected to stay after their vacation ended.