Mother of hit-and-run victim warns football fans of Qatar being ‘massive risk’

8:30am, Thu 25 Mar 2021
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The mother of hit-and-run victim Raffy Tsakanika has warned football fans it is a “massive risk” to travel to Qatar ahead of the 2022 World Cup.

Mrs Sullivan was diagnosed with broken heart syndrome shortly after the death of her daughter in March 2019 and described her campaign for justice as a “two-year ordeal”.

The 54-year-old, who previously worked as a tour guide in Qatar, said she would no longer encourage people to travel to the country.

She told the PA news agency: “I can’t advise people on what they should and shouldn’t do.

“All I can do is share my story – which is you will get no support if you’re in trouble.

“Had I known then what I know now, I wouldn’t have gone.

“I feel hugely guilty now, but I was encouraging women on women’s travel forums saying it was a safe country.

“Now I know what I know about how they treat people when they get in trouble, especially women, you take a massive risk (going there).”

Mrs Sullivan continued: “I just can’t imagine a Qatari coming here and us saying ‘well actually we look after Brits better than you and the British person that you’re dealing with is going to be dealt with leniently and you are not going to have any justice’.

“I’m really sure the British people would be up in arms if that happened because we live in a fair world where people are treated equally.

“But that’s not the case there.

“It’s absolutely not the case.

“Two years of heartache, pain, struggle and countless translations of documents.”

The Doha skyline (Martin Rickett/PA) (PA Archive)

Mrs Sullivan, who lives in Cambridge, also spoke of how her daughter’s death has affected her mental health.

She told PA: “I don’t socialise, I don’t really want to speak to anybody – it’s taken its toll on our mental health,” she said.

“I think we’re completely disillusioned with the support, or the lack of support, we’ve had.

“When (Raffy) walked in she just had the most beautiful smile – you’d just warm to her immediately.

“She was so gentle and kind and always seeing the good in people.

“It’s been two years and it does not get any easier.

“It doesn’t get any easier.”

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