UK woman hires investigator to probe mystery of her niece’s death in Israel

By Jessica Weinstein, March 4, 2016
Deborah Pearson lays flowers for her niece outside the Dolphin guesthouse in Eilat (Picture: Facebook/Justice for Julie/Omer Carmon, Erev Erev Eilat)

Deborah Pearson lays flowers for her niece outside the Dolphin guesthouse in Eilat (Picture: Facebook/Justice for Julie/Omer Carmon, Erev Erev Eilat)

The aunt of a British woman who died in Israel has hired a private investigator because, she claims, police are not dealing with the case properly.

Deborah Pearson said she had been forced to take the drastic measure after trying to persuade Israeli police to treat the death of her niece, Julie Pearson, as murder.

Julie, 38, from Kinross in Scotland, died in Eilat last November after she was allegedly attacked by her boyfriend Amjab Hatib.

Mr Hatib was questioned by police at the time but not detained.

Deborah flew to Eilat this week to quiz police on the steps they have taken to uncover what happened to her niece.

She said: “I had a lot of questions for the police and they just kept saying ‘we can’t answer that’ or ‘it’s still under investigation’,” she said.

Julie Pearson (Picture: Facebook)

Julie Pearson (Picture: Facebook)

“I’ve had to hire an investigator because I don’t think they are doing their job properly, they’re not investigating enough.”

She added that the family still did not know how Julie died.

She said: “We’ve asked to see the CCTV for the Dolphin guest house [where Julie was allegedly attacked], but we’re not allowed to see that. We’ve asked why Amjab is walking about the streets, why he’s not been arrested, they can’t tell me that either.

“The main question I wanted to ask them was: Julie died on November 27 - nobody informed us, it was one of her friends that called us. If he hadn’t called what would have happened? They said maybe they would have just buried her in Israel and nobody would have known.”

Deborah, who speaks fluent Hebrew and whose mother and brother were both born in Jerusalem, said she had been shouted and sworn at during her visit by people she claimed were friends of Mr Hatib.

She said officials from the British embassy in Israel had advised that she was not safe in Eilat and should leave.

“The embassy staff had come to support me in the meetings with the police. [But] they suggested we should leave Eilat, that it wasn’t safe,” she said. “I’m never coming back to Eilat, never.”

Deborah is now attempting to obtain a copy of the post-mortem report on Julie.

A spokesman for the Israel Police told the JC: “The case is still open and we are waiting for the final autopsy results from the Ministry of Health in Tel Aviv. Only when the cause of Julie's death will be clear, the police investigation will then be able to advance.

“This week there was a meeting with Eilat police officers that discussed the incident with Julie's aunt and other members based on the family’s request to meet. There is co-operation between the family, police and authorities on this sad case that is still being dealt with.”

Last updated: 9:57am, March 7 2016