A GRIEVING mother who had to pay almost £5,000 to bring her son’s body home from France may never know exactly how he died.
Susan Hull, of St Helen’s Road, fought back tears after the East Sussex Coroner told her he could not record a cause of death as no proper investigation had been carried out. Mrs Hull is warning other parents and those visiting France to have travel insurance.
An inquest held on Tuesday at Hastings Magistrates Court heard how Anthony Treggiden died from a suspected heart attack while living in Perpignan. The 46-year-old had lived in France as a ‘new age traveller’ for several years. Mrs Hull had only spoken to her son on the phone the night before his death on July 7. She told the court he said he kept falling asleep and blamed it on aneasthetic from an operation to save his right foot. He had undergone an operation following a diving accident. He was staying with a friend at his death.
But on July 8 Mrs Hull received a phone call from a former girlfriend of Mr Treggiden informing her of his sudden death.
She explained he had suffered a heart attack, been revived and then had another heart attack. The court heard Mr Craze’s office contacted the Foreign & Commonwealth Office in London to ask for assistance.
Mr Craze said: “In countries like France where the legal system is based on Roman law, it is notoriously difficult. My office received a letter from the Foreign & Commonwealth office which stated it was against French law for the death certificate to show a cause of death. The French system is not interested in how a person died. It is only interested if a crime has been committed.”
A post mortem was carried out by Doctor Anthony Williams. He concluded the cause of death was unascertained. He found Mr Treggiden’s heart was enlarged by one and a half its normal size which could be associated with a heart attack.
Mr Craze reached a conclusion of an open verdict. Mrs Hull said she paid another £3,000 on top of her savings for a cremation and funeral service in Hastings.
Speaking outside court Mrs Hull said: “I’d urge other parents or those travelling abroad to make sure insurance is in place. My son was living in abroad for a long time so wouldn’t have thought about insurance. It’s hard enough not having an explanation as to how my son died nevermind having to use my savings. We just have no closure. Why are the French authorities not carrying out full investigations into how people die there? If this was in Britain we would know exactly what happened and cause of death? It’s just a Dickensian law.”