Kirsty Maxwell: Balcony death Scot's parents set up support charity

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image source, Facebook
image captionKirsty Maxwell was with a group of friends in Benidorm when she died in 2017

The parents of a woman who fell to her death from a hotel balcony in Spain have set up a charity to offer help to families whose loved ones died abroad.

The Kirsty Maxwell Charity will offer advice as well as emotional and financial support.

Kirsty's parents, Brian and Denise Curry, said they did not want other families to experience what they went through after her death in 2017.

The 27-year-old died while on a hen party weekend in Benidorm with friends.

Kirsty, from Livingston in West Lothian, had returned to her apartment on the ninth floor in the early hours after a night out.

She was filmed asleep at about 06:50 - but about an hour later she fell to her death after entering an apartment on the floor above, which was occupied by five British men. The men were arrested but never charged.

media captionKirsty Maxwell: Balcony death Scot's parents set up support charity

Spanish prosecutors concluded that her death was an accident, but Kirsty's family have been critical of the way the inquiry was conducted and how they were treated.

The couple have previously described how they arrived in Spain in the early hours of the morning with nowhere to stay and no-one to meet them off the plane.

Mr Curry said that in the hours following Kirsty's death, there was very little information from the authorities about what had happened.

He said they felt abandoned and helpless.

He also said that he felt anger and frustration when he saw other families in the same situation who are not getting the help they should, especially in the vital first 48 hours.

Mr Curry said families who were "numb" with grief needed help to deal with police, translate reports and get a legal adviser.

"That first 48 hours, if you can get that help, it can go a long way," he said.

"We didn't really have that help. We really missed out."

Mr Curry said they were hoping to use their experience to help other families navigate through in a foreign country, in a different language and in an unknown judicial system.

"We are not filling the void but we are trying to help," he said.

image captionKirsty (left) with best friend Siobhan

Mr Curry said the UK government's Foreign and Commonwealth Office did offer some contact but it was very limited.

"They work within a really tight remit and you have really got to help yourself," he says.

"There should be a procedure or protocol in place that actually helps these families."

The family's local MP, Hannah Bardell, has previously called for a joined-up, cross-agency process that "held the hands" of a bereaved family from the point of notification of death, through travelling to the country of death and repatriation.

The Foreign Office (FCO) replied to her report by saying: "Last year we helped more than 22,000 British people overseas and the feedback we received was overwhelmingly positive."

A statement said the FCO gives "professional and empathetic support".

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