Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

My Daughter Only Wanted to Help People. Now She Is Dead

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

My Daughter Only Wanted to Help People. Now She Is Dead

Article excerpt


AS A teenager she knitted blankets for Oxfam and was a St John Ambulance volunteer - so when Charlotte Wilson realised her dream of working in an impoverished African secondary school, she wrote ecstatically to her mother: "I am happier than I have ever been and having a fantastic time. I'm definitely following my star even if it leads me to places that aren't part of the conventional road to happiness."

But 15 months later the 27-year-old British aid worker was hauled off a bus, ordered to lie on a road beside her fiancE, and murdered by rebel forces in war-torn Burundi.

This week, as Charlotte's death was recalled at an inquest her mother, Margot, learned her terrified daughter was told by her killer seconds before she died: "It is you who supplied the weapons, now you are going to feel what it is like."

Mrs Wilson, 56, an English teacher from Enfield, told the Evening Standard: "I never wanted Charlotte to go out there and with hindsight I had every reason to be worried.

Witness statements at the inquest said her killers talked about Europeans supplying weapons to Africa. It is possible the gun which killed her was supplied by a European arms dealer.

"Her death is a loss that we, as a family, will never get over - there will always be a gap. Although I know Charlotte will never come back I still, somehow, believe she is here and talk to her picture when I am alone, wondering what she would say if she were alive today."

Mrs Wilson added: "What the coroner said this week was right; her death was a massacre, a terrible crime against humanity just as much as the events in Bali - the killing of totally innocent people."

Charlotte, who worked for the international development charity Voluntary Service Overseas, teaching biochemistry, was killed while travelling from Burundi to the Rwandan capital Kigali on 28 December 2000. The inquest at Hornsey coroner's court heard how she and fiancE Richard Ndereyiman, a Burundian teacher were on their way to celebrate New Year with his parents when gunmen fired at the bus with machineguns, killing the driver and forcing it to crash into a ditch. …

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