UK parents demand answers from Israeli police

Family of Julie Pearson claims Israeli police hiding true cause of her death, release postmortem photos in bid for answers.

David Rosenberg ,

Police line (illustration)
Police line (illustration)

The parents of a British ex-pat found dead in Israel last year have released gruesome postmortem pictures which they claim proves their daughter was murdered by her abusive ex-boyfriend.

Last month the Israeli police ended their investigation into the death of Julie Pearson, a British national who had been living in the southern town of Eilat.

Ruling her death a result of a rare stomach disease, the investigation dismissed allegations that Pearson had died as a result of physical abuse by her former boyfriend, Amjad Khatib.

After Pearson’s body was returned to her family in the UK, however, the visible signs of intense abuse rekindled suspicions that Pearson was murdered by Khatib – and that the Israeli police were concealing the cause of the death.

Pearson, who was 38 at the time of her death, traveled to Israel in 2014 with the hopes of getting Israeli citizenship based on her paternal grandmother’s Jewish heritage and residence in Jerusalem prior to the founding of the state.

After her request for citizenship was denied, Pearson was arrested for overstaying her visa and later fell into a vicious cycle of drug and alcohol abuse.

Pearson eventually moved into a rundown apartment in Eilat, sharing a room with strangers. She also began a relationship with Khatib, an Arab resident of eastern Jerusalem.

Friends and neighbors testified that Pearson was regularly beaten by Khatib, who on at least one occasion was seen slamming Pearson head-first into a door.

Pearson’s family accused the Israeli police of dragging their feet in the investigation, which took nearly half a year to complete. Relatives were skeptical of the inquiry’s conclusions, noting that Pearson had never shown symptoms of the rare stomach condition before.

The clear signs of abuse on Pearson’s body only strengthened the family’s suspicions, but Israeli police stated that no further investigations were planned.

On Sunday the family publicized pictures of Pearson from her funeral. The images show heavy bruising across Pearson’s face, but her family claims the signs of violence on the rest of her body were ever more severe.

“We wanted people to see what we saw,” Deborah Pearson, Julie’s aunt, told the Daily Mail. “Her injuries were even worse than what you can see. She had bruises all over her body – her torso, back, shoulders.”

“There is no way she died from natural causes,” said Julie’s mother, Margaret Pearson. “We feel we have no other choice but to let the world see the injuries my daughter sustained as we try to get to the truth of how Julie died.”

Pearson was beaten by Khatib just hours before her death, but pathologists insist the injuries suffered from the abuse were not fatal.