Nurse back in Saudi jail after wedding

 

Lucille McLauchlan, the British nurse who is facing an eight-year jail term and 500 lashes in a Saudi prison for her part in the murder of an Australian nurse, yesterday married her long-time boyfriend, Mr Grant Ferrie, in a Saudi courthouse. As two Saudi police officers looked on, McLauchlan (32), exchanged rings with Mr Ferrie (30), a tyre-fitter. McLauchlan, who wore traditional Arabian dress and a veil, was given away by her brother, John, in front of a Saudi judge. British consular official, Mr Lawson Ross, and his wife provided flowers and a wedding cake. After the 20-minute ceremony the wedding party returned to Damman Central Prison, where McLauchlan has been held for almost a year after being arrested and convicted of being an accessory to the murder of Yvonne Gilford.

Her co-accused, Deborah Parry, joined the group as they shared the wedding cake and toasted the couple with fruit juice. After the reception Mr Ferrie visited his wife in private. He will return today.

The couple, who met in their home town of Dundee, had long-standing plans to marry and were determined to go ahead despite McLauchlan's arrest and conviction. A family friend said: "Even under the nightmare when she was facing the death penalty they were adamant to get married. They did not want the year to end without making a commitment to one another. They are very much in love and both are delighted."

The go-ahead for the ceremony came after lengthy negotiations between the Saudis and British diplomats. McLauchlan's Saudi lawyer, Mr Salah al-Hejailan, described the service as "unforgettable". It proved, he said, that the Saudi authorities were "humane, flexible and understanding".

The wedding day was clouded by the revelation that, although McLauchlan has been convicted of the lesser offence of being an accessory to murder, she could end up serving a longer sentence than Parry, who is understood to have been convicted of beating and stabbing Gilford (55) at the King Fahd Military Medical Complex in Dhahran where all three women worked last December. Parry (39), from Hampshire, will be sentenced this month.

Mr al-Hejailan, said: "It is up to the authorities and I think it will be on the lower side. Deborah has not been sentenced but it is likely her sentence will be one or two years."

Lawyers will this week ask the Saudi courts to reduce McLauchlan's sentence.