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Sarah Groves: The ongoing wait for justice

Sarah Groves: The ongoing wait for justice

Friday 07 April 2023

Sarah Groves: The ongoing wait for justice

Friday 07 April 2023


The trial of the man accused of murdering Sarah Groves may be the longest ever, with the UK's Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office saying it cannot intervene other than reiterating its support for Sarah's family as they continue their decade long wait for justice.

Yesterday (6 April) marked the ten year anniversary of her death.

The 24-year-old was murdered in Kashmir in the early hours of 6 April 2013.

Richard de Wit was arrested shortly after Miss Groves' body was found and he was charged with her murder. He has been in custody in Srinagar ever since and his trial has not yet been concluded. It was suspended in 2021 after his mental health deteriorated to a worrying level, following hundreds of delayed, postponed or cancelled hearings. 

There have been murder trials in America and the UK which have lasted seven years and an Australian case which lasted eight years, but Express has been unable to source confirmation of any other case lasting longer than the ten years which Mr de Wit's trial has now spanned. 

While Guernsey - where Miss Groves had lived, and where her parents and one of her brothers' still live - is not part of the UK, it is a Crown Dependency with ties to the UK through its defence and international representation.

That includes the oversight of the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office which can help people in trouble abroad.

Earlier this week, a spokesperson for the FCDO told Express: 

“We are providing consular assistance in this case, and remain in regular contact with the local authorities in Kashmir and the family of Sarah Groves.”

Despite that assurance, the Groves family have previously said they do not feel supported by the FCDO - formerly the Foreign & Commonwealth Office.

In 2018, a petition was handed to the FCO calling on the then Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson to intervene in the case which by then had been running for five years since Miss Groves death.

That online petition was signed by 16,000 people.

Sarah Groves Vic Groves

Pictured: Vic Groves (centre), Mrs Groves (front right) and Deputy Jonathan Le Tocq (centre right) met the High Commissioner for India and his wife in 2018.

Media reports of the time indicate that the FCO issued a very similar statement to the one issued to Express this week, assuring the public that assistance was being given to the Groves family and that the FCO also wanted to see justice achieved for Sarah.

Meetings were also arranged with the UK's Minister responsible for Asia Pacific affairs, and His Excellency the High Commissioner for India. Both Mr Groves and Guernsey's then-Minister for External Affairs, Deputy Jonathan Le Tocq attended those meetings.

HE Mr Y.K. Sinha was the Indian High Commissioner at the time, and he promised to do what he could to move the trial forward.

He did tell Mr and Mrs Groves and Deputy Le Tocq that he couldn't interfere in a judicial process though.

At the time, Mr Groves said Deputy Le Tocq had “done more than anyone else” in advancing the cause.

Deputy Le Tocq has been off-island this week. In his absence a statement was issued jointly by the States of Guernsey and Guernsey Police.

"Guernsey officers remain in contact with the Indian High Commission and the FCDO, and continue to liaise with the Groves family to support them where possible," it said.

"Our deepest sympathies remain with the family who have faced ongoing challenges in their pursuit of justice since the tragic death of Sarah.  They have been an inspiration to many Islanders in their continued determination, but also in the contribution they’ve made to the community, including through the Sarah Groves Foundation."

Groves.jpg

Pictured: Kate and Vic Groves are spending this weekend with two of their sons and their two granddaughters.

Miss Groves' parents have reiterated to Express over the past week how they feel they have been let down by off-island authorities. This is in comparison with the support given to them by members of the public and the local authorities.

They said local media has been supportive too, along with the BBC, ITV and local media in the Manchester and Berkshire regions where Miss Groves' family are from and where she attended school respectively.

Both Mr and Mrs Groves feel that their daughter's death has not received the same level of national news coverage as other cases where Britons have been murdered abroad. They're not sure why that is, but they had hoped by raising the profile of the case they may have been able to secure more official support.

"I thought it may be a way of pressing the Foreign Office into elevating the priority (of Sarah's case)," said Mrs Groves. "I used to say, when I was at my wits end, 'if it was Boris Johnson's child, by golly they wouldn't meet all these obstacles'.

"Luckily for him it wasn't his child."

Mr Groves added that the support they have received has been very gratefully received.

"Our ability to get help [from other places]...we've always had positive relationship with the [local] media, and we've been able to call on them in a friendly way to say we need a bit of help here but it never ever came [from elsewhere]...," he said.

LISTEN: The interview with Mr and Mrs Groves can be heard in full below.

Read more...

Sarah Groves: A decade since her death

Sarah Groves: The Foundation is her "legacy"

Sarah Groves: Constant delays and disruption

Remembering Sarah Groves, eight years on

Five years on; the fight for justice continues

Useful meeting over Sarah Groves murder trial

Further trial delays as Sarah Groves family mark her 30th birthday

Plea issued to multi governments to intervene in Sarah Groves case

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