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WHY ARE MY HUSBAND'S MAD KILLERS STILL FREE?; Envoy's wife in plea over terror gang.

Byline: RICHARD SMITH

THE tearful widow of a British defence envoy murdered by terrorists said yesterday she was baffled that his "mad" killers were still at large.

Belfast-born Heather Saunders' husband, Stephen, was shot by the terror gang November 17 in Athens 10 months ago because they wrongly believed he was involved in the Kosovo war. Despite a pounds 1.75million reward, no member of the group - which has killed 23 people in 103 attacks since 1975 - has been arrested.

Speaking after an inquest ruled Brigadier Saunders was unlawfully killed, mum of two Heather - who met her husband while he was on a tour of duty here in 1982 - sobbed: "How can such a small, mad group get away with so much for so long? A huge amount of money has been put up and I find it extraordinary these people are still on the streets.

"The Greeks see them as some sort of Mafia, surrounded by mystique.

"I know police are determined to bring them to justice. But they need backing from above.

"My life has been completely ruined. My children don't have a father. I don't want this to happen to anybody else."

Brigadier Saunders, 52, was shot five times by two men on a motorbike as he drove to work at the British Embassy.

An eye-witness named as Witness C said in a statement: "I saw a motorbike passenger holding something in his hand.

"Then he moved, giving the impression he was trying to press a trigger.

"He continued to make movements indicating his gun was jammed.

"Then the driver of the bike took something from the front of his body. At the same time I heard two shots, maybe three."

Brigadier Saunders died from multiple shot wounds to the stomach.

The tiny November 17 Marxist group said they targeted the envoy because he was an air marshal who helped plan Kosovo bomb raids.

But Heather - mother of Nicola, 15, and Catherine, 14 - told the inquest at Salisbury, Wilts: "That's an absolute lie."

Wiltshire coroner David Masters said: "This was cold-blooded murder. We pray the perpetrators will be brought to justice."

CAPTION(S):

GRIEF: Heather yesterday and, right, her husband
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Publication:The Mirror (London, England)
Date:Apr 24, 2001
Words:363
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