DCSIMG

Paul McBride death: QC refused medical aid days before death

Paul McBride was described as one of Scotland's finest legal minds. Picture: Ian MacNicol

Paul McBride was described as one of Scotland's finest legal minds. Picture: Ian MacNicol

  • by CRAIG BROWN and GARETH ROSE
 

SCOTS QC Paul McBride, who was found dead in a bedroom in a Pakistan hotel at the weekend, refused offers of medical help in the days leading up to his death.

Mr McBride had been in Lahore attending a series of business meetings with fellow Scottish solicitor Aamer Anwar.

The 47-year-old QC had been present at a wedding on Saturday with Mr Anwar, where he met high ranking government ministers and army officials.

The visit to Pakistan had been a side trip, as Mr McBride had been on holiday with his parents in Abu Dhabi, where he had also carried out business meetings.

Mr Anwar said that in the days running up to his death, Mr McBride had complained of feeling “sick and unwell”, but had refused offers of medical help.

He said that while the QC was “not particularly the type to moan”, at the time he had not been unduly concerned by Mr McBride’s condition.

“Everyone who comes to Pakistan feels ill,” said Mr Anwar. “I had felt ill as well, so it was nothing new. He had said he felt ill. I had said to him that I would get him a doctor… but he kept insisting he didn’t want a doctor.”

Mr Anwar said there were repeated offers of doctors made to him, including a government one, but that Mr McBride had declined them.

The solicitor had gone to bed early on Saturday evening, and was found dead the next morning, when hotel security at the Pearl Continental broke into his room at the request of Mr Anwar, who became concerned when Mr McBride failed to respond to phone calls and knocks at the door.

Following an initial investigation on Sunday, the Lahore police had said they did not suspect “foul play” and that he had died of “natural causes”.

But Mr Anwar said he had “serious concerns” about the Pakistan police investigation.

“Obviously the authorities here have a different way of dealing with things here,” he said. “It’s certainly not the way we would deal with things back home, but I don’t mean to sound arrogant.

“The situation is that the police have already said that there are no suspicious circumstances, and that the door was locked from the inside, but I have serious concerns, because they should have cordoned the place off, there should have been tape, rather than simply saying ‘that’s it, it’s done’.

“I know back home things would be done differently, but unfortunately we’re not back home.”

He also said he had struggled to retrieve Mr McBride’s personal property from Lahore police so it be returned to his parents and his partner, Gary Murphy.

But Mr Anwar said he would stay until he saw Mr McBride’s body returned to the UK.

“I owed my career to Paul McBride,” he said. “He saved my life as far as I’m concerned; when it came to my contempt of court proceedings with the Law Society, he was there for me. The least I can do is be there for Paul’s mum and dad, and bring him home.”

A Crown Office spokeswoman said the investigation was down to the Pakistan police and “any liaison with the UK authorities will be via the Foreign Commonwealth Office [FCO] in London”.

Cameron Ritchie, president of the Law Society of Scotland said: “Certain deaths abroad can be investigated in specific circumstances. However, if someone has died of natural causes, and not been murdered, there is no power for anyone to investigate that death.

“Fatal accident inquiries are limited to Scotland’s physical boundaries.”

But Mr Anwar also attacked the lack of practical support from the Foreign Office, calling it “shameful” and “unacceptable”.

He said: “I’ve seen the line that’s gone out, that the Foreign and Commonwealth Office are offering consular assistance to the family. Well, as far as Paul’s family need assistance; they were in Abu Dhabi, but they’re now back in the UK.

“They’ve asked me to look after Paul, and I’m here in Lahore, a British citizen trying to bring a friend and a colleague back home, and I’ve not seen one person from the embassy.”

He said as a result, the Scottish Government had raised the issue with the FCO, to have consular officials offer more help.

A Scottish Government spokesman confirmed that external affairs secretary Fiona Hyslop had spoken to Mr Anwar yesterday and offered him support. He added: “Scottish Government officials are liaising with the Foreign Office to ensure support is being provided.”

An FCO spokesman said: “We are providing full consular assistance for his family and will continue to do so. We are in constant contact with them and their representatives.”

Mr McBride had been in Lahore attending a series of business meetings with fellow Scottish solicitor Aamer Anwar.

The 47-year-old QC had been present at a wedding on Saturday with Mr Anwar, where he met high ranking government ministers and army officials.

The visit to Pakistan had been a side trip, as Mr McBride had been on holiday with his parents in Abu Dhabi, where he had also carried out business meetings.

Mr Anwar said that in the days running up to his death, Mr McBride had complained of feeling “sick and unwell”, but had refused offers of medical help.

He said that while the QC was “not particularly the type to moan”, at the time he had not been unduly concerned by Mr McBride’s condition.

“Everyone who comes to Pakistan feels ill,” said Mr Anwar. “I had felt ill as well, so it was nothing new. He had said he felt ill. I had said to him that I would get him a doctor… but he kept insisting he didn’t want a doctor.”

Mr Anwar said there were repeated offers of doctors made to him, including a government one, but that Mr McBride had declined them.

The solicitor had gone to bed early on Saturday evening, and was found dead the next morning, when hotel security at the Pearl Continental broke into his room at the request of Mr Anwar, who became concerned when Mr McBride failed to respond to phone calls and knocks at the door.

Following an initial investigation on Sunday, the Lahore police had said they did not suspect “foul play” and that he had died of “natural causes”.

But Mr Anwar said he had “serious concerns” about the Pakistan police investigation.

“Obviously the authorities here have a different way of dealing with things here,” he said. “It’s certainly not the way we would deal with things back home, but I don’t mean to sound arrogant.

“The situation is that the police have already said that there are no suspicious circumstances, and that the door was locked from the inside, but I have serious concerns, because they should have cordoned the place off, there should have been tape, rather than simply saying ‘that’s it, it’s done’.

“I know back home things would be done differently, but unfortunately we’re not back home.”

He also said he had struggled to retrieve Mr McBride’s personal property from Lahore police so it be returned to his parents and his partner, Gary Murphy.

But Mr Anwar said he would stay until he saw Mr McBride’s body returned to the UK.

“I owed my career to Paul McBride,” he said. “He saved my life as far as I’m concerned; when it came to my contempt of court proceedings with the Law Society, he was there for me. The least I can do is be there for Paul’s mum and dad, and bring him home.”

A Crown Office spokeswoman said the investigation was down to the Pakistan police and “any liaison with the UK authorities will be via the Foreign Commonwealth Office [FCO] in London”.

Cameron Ritchie, president of the Law Society of Scotland said: “Certain deaths abroad can be investigated in specific circumstances. However, if someone has died of natural causes, and not been murdered, there is no power for anyone to investigate that death.

“Fatal accident inquiries are limited to Scotland’s physical boundaries.”

But Mr Anwar also attacked the lack of practical support from the Foreign Office, calling it “shameful” and “unacceptable”.

He said: “I’ve seen the line that’s gone out, that the Foreign and Commonwealth Office are offering consular assistance to the family. Well, as far as Paul’s family need assistance; they were in Abu Dhabi, but they’re now back in the UK.

“They’ve asked me to look after Paul, and I’m here in Lahore, a British citizen trying to bring a friend and a colleague back home, and I’ve not seen one person from the embassy.”

He said as a result, the Scottish Government had raised the issue with the FCO, to have consular officials offer more help.

A Scottish Government spokesman confirmed that external affairs secretary Fiona Hyslop had spoken to Mr Anwar yesterday and offered him support. He added: “Scottish Government officials are liaising with the Foreign Office to ensure support is being provided.”

An FCO spokesman said: “We are providing full consular assistance for his family and will continue to do so. We are in constant contact with them and their representatives.”

 
 
 

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