Lord Prescott has slated the British Government for ‘looking the other way’ over the disappearance of a Chester woman who mysteriously vanished at sea, saying they give more attention to ‘ruddy luggage’ than people’s lives.
Almost four years have passed since 24-year-old Rebecca Coriam went missing from the Disney Wonder cruise liner she was working on as it sailed off the coast of Mexico.
Now, after years of searching for the truth about what happened to their daughter, her parents have been joined by former deputy prime minister John Prescott who has accused the Government of ‘refusing’ to help gain an inquest on UK soil.
The 76-year-old former Chester resident argued there was ‘no inquiry or investigation’ into the Guilden Sutton woman’s disappearance and urged the Government to rethink the law to allow UK authorities to investigate cases of British nationals lost at sea.
Speaking during a debate in the House of Lords recently, Lord Prescott criticised the initial investigation by the Royal Bahamas Police Force – as the ship came under their jurisdiction – saying the ‘rules there are pretty slack’.
“There was no inquiry or investigation,” said Lord Prescott, who has been involved in merchant shipping all his life and said families should have the ‘right’ to know what was going on.
“Over here we look the other way and will not even have an inquest. That is quite wrong.
“I know the Government have refused to do anything about an inquest. Why can we not have an inquest for a British citizen?”
Lord Prescott called for changes in the law, which he said the Government recently changed in order to increase compensation if travellers lose their luggage.
“Should we not be giving more attention on the ship than the ruddy luggage,” he said, adding that by not having someone responsible to report to our authorities to keep the families informed and keep a check on safety it was ‘dangerous’.
Speaking to The Chronicle, Rebecca’s mum Ann, who is still fighting for answers about what happened to her daughter when she failed to turn up for work on board the ship on March 22, 2011, said: “Lord Prescott is really trying to help us. He wants to meet us next month, to talk to us about anything else he can do for us.
“We are hoping to get an inquest in this country, we want to find the answers. It will all come out in the end.”
Ann, 55, and Mike, 61, who have just returned from a trip to America to meet with their lawyer as they prepare to fight Disney in court, said she emails Supt Paul Rolle of the Bahamas Police Force almost every week but the family have never heard back from him.
“It has been nearly four years, it is terrible, it makes me mad that he never gets back to me,” said Ann, who still hasn’t seen the official police report into Rebecca’s case.
“He said he would send a full report in two-three weeks - it is nearly four years later. It just goes over in your mind – what did he find on that ship?”
A spokesperson for MP for the City of Chester, Stephen Mosley, said: “Stephen continues to remain in touch with the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, the Home Office and Cheshire police regarding this matter, and continues to ensure that Rebecca’s case remains a priority.
“The Foreign and Commonwealth Office, the Home Office, and Cheshire police continue to press the authorities in the Bahamas to release their police report into the case, and pursue Rebecca’s case at the highest levels, through the UK High Commissioner to the Bahamas.”
The Chronicle repeatedly attempted to contact the Royal Bahamas Police Force and Supt Rolle but received no response. The Foreign Office have not responded to any Chronicle requests for comment.