Suspicion Surrounds Death of British Woman in Belize

Article excerpt

The devastated father of Ms Anna Lightfoot, the British voluntary worker found dead in a remote part of Belize in Central America, said yesterday he believed she had died in suspicious circumstances during her "big adventure" to help others in an underdeveloped country.

Ms Lightfoot, aged 27, from Saddleworth, near Oldham, Greater Manchester, was on a Raleigh International project to build classrooms with young volunteers when she disappeared on Monday.

Her body was found in bushes near a dirt track after she failed to return from a shopping trip to a village an hour's walk from the project.

Police have not yet found anything untoward, the Foreign Office said yesterday, but her father, Mr David Lightfoot, said yesterday that he believed foul play could be involved.

"We are absolutely devastated by this. There are suspicious circumstances almost certainly but we shan't know anything until later today," he said.

"There are things missing from her and we are waiting for the forensic teams to go in."

However, a spokesman for the Foreign Office said: "At present there is nothing to suggest anything untoward.

"The police have conducted an extensive search and will be considering their findings."

Mr Lightfoot, a lawyer, said members of Anna's family were comforting each other yesterday while awaiting news from the former colony as a post mortem examination tried to discover how she met her death.

Ms Lightfoot, an assistant countryside warden with Tameside Council in Greater Manchester, had arrived in Belize in July to work on the 10-week project.

Her family said in a statement yesterday: "She was a much-loved member of a small family. She was kind, generous and loving. She was also the adventurous member of the family.

"It is entirely typical of her that, for her big adventure, she wanted to help in a practical way the people of an underdeveloped country, with an environment about which she cared passionately.

"That she should die while helping in this way is especially tragic. …