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I fought for five years to lock up my pal's Mexican killers; Scot tells of battle.

Byline: ROBERT FAIRBURN EXCLUSIVE

A BUSINESSMAN yesterday told of his remarkable five-year fight for justice after a friend was murdered in Mexico.

Scots-born Roddy Pearce, 39, was hacked to death with a machete - but the authorities initially claimed he was killed in a motorcycle accident.

Suspicious, his friends in Scotland decided to launch their own investigation.

And they flew to Mexico to be confronted by a wall of bureaucracy, sinister cover-ups and the murder of two key witnesses.

They finally forced the prosecution of Roddy's ex-girlfriend, Jemima Alaves Dobles, who was charged with murder and spent three years in jail before being cleared by the court.

Roddy's friend, Borders knitwear company boss Rod Buchan now accepts the killer will never be brought to justice.

But he said yesterday: "We took some satisfaction that the ex-girlfriend spent three years in jail.

"A lot of people only spend six or seven years in jail for murder if they are convicted, so I suppose three years in a Mexican jail is no cup of tea.

"In the end, it was not her we wanted to get. It was the fact that we were being held up by someone behind the scenes."

Roddy was born and raised in Selkirk but fell in love with Mexico.

Setting up home in Puerto Escondido, he planned to start a firm running motorbike tours.

He also talked about marrying Jemima but the couple split up just six weeks before his death.

In May 1997, Mr Buchan, 48, received a call from Roddy's friends in Mexico to say his body had been discovered on a beach. A pal who identified the body said the Scot had been virtually decapitated.

A Mexican newspaper reported an unknown foreign tourist had died in a bike crash.

Mr Buchan, Roddy's brother Alistair and two other friends flew to Mexico.

They soon discovered he had last been seen on his motor-cycle with Jemima.

The lack of blood where the body was discovered ruled out a bike crash and suggested Roddy had been murdered elsewhere.

The friends pressed the police for a proper investigation - to no avail. They finally sent a fax to the attorney general in Mexico City alleging a cover up and threatening to tell the UK Press.

An armed independent investigative team was sent from the state capital, Oaxaaca City.

Suddenly, witnesses were found. One saw Roddy arguing with two men and a woman while another spotted the three in a 4- -by-4 vehicle, similar to one owned by Jemima's brother.

It was claimed one of the men was carrying a machete - and the girl shouted "kill him".

The statements sealed the death of two witnesses, including the one who reported seeing the machete. They were shot with a .38 revolver.

Two other bodies were then dumped at the site where Roddy was found, both shot with a .38. Mr Buchan suspects they were Roddy's killers - silenced as part of a cover up.

Jemima was found to be staying in a flat owned by a powerful local politician. Roddy's friends suspect they were having an affair.

She was finally charged with murder, using signed statements from the slain witnesses.

But after three years, her trial collapsed in October 2001. The defence brought in an expert, who claimed signatures on witness statements had been forged. Jemima was freed.

Last night, Mr Buchan said: "It beggared belief. Politics in Mexico is a murky business. We were very nervous when we found there were powerful people involved.

"Roddy didn't deserve what happened to him, especially in a country he loved so much.

"You could make a film on what we went through. But I don't suppose I would be allowed back into Mexico.

"We kicked in too many doors and asked too many questions."
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Comment:I fought for five years to lock up my pal's Mexican killers; Scot tells of battle.(News)
Publication:Daily Record (Glasgow, Scotland)
Geographic Code:1MEX
Date:Aug 30, 2002
Words:629
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