British teacher, 24, ‘murdered in Qatar after leaving hotel nightclub with group of men’
- Lauren Patterson went missing after last seen at Doha hotel on Saturday
- Believed to have left five-star nightclub with a group of Qatari men
- Boyfriend James Grima launched online appeal to find her over weekend
- He later posted message saying she had died, but gave no further details
- Mother pays tribute to ‘remarkable girl. My rock, always there for everyone’
PUBLISHED: 16:07, 14 October 2013
A British teacher is believed to have been murdered in Qatar hours after flying back to the Middle East from her grandmother’s funeral.
Friends of primary school teacher Lauren Patterson, 24, said she was last seen at a nightclub in the capital, Doha, with two Qatari men, one of whom was an ex-boyfriend.
A friend said the ex-boyfriend had since gone to Saudi Arabia and Doha police had taken the other man, who had a bruised lip, in for questioning.
Last night there were suggestions from friends that Miss Patterson had left a nightclub at five-star hotel La Cigale with a group of Qatari men and had texted friends to say she was being taken to the wrong house.
One close friend posted a message on Twitter saying: ‘Lauren was raped and brutally murdered.
‘Her body was found in the dumpsters behind La Cigale.’
The £180-a-night hotel has three nightclubs. Its website boasts ‘welcome to the best party in Doha’.
Miss Patterson was last seen outside La Cigale at 1.20am on Saturday, but it is not clear what happened next.
The man who was arrested, a friend of Miss Patterson’s ex-boyfriend, claimed he got his bruised lip after a fight with a taxi driver.
He claims the driver had dropped Miss Patterson at the wrong address. Police searched the man’s apartment but he was later released.
After Miss Patterson disappeared, her family and boyfriend launched a frantic campaign on Facebook and other social media to find her.
But 40 hours later, her boyfriend, James Grima, posted a message saying she was dead.
It was followed by dozens of other tributes, praising a ‘truly amazing’ young woman.
Sad time: Lauren had just returned to Doha from the UK last Friday where she had attended the funeral of her grandmother (pictured)
Yesterday, her mother Alison left her own online tribute, writing: ‘Thank you so much to everyone for all their wonderful words about Lauren.
‘She was a truly remarkable girl, my rock, always there for everyone. I know she’s in heaven now in her Daddy’s arms.’
Miss Patterson, who flew back from her grandmother’s funeral on Friday, was a primary teacher at Newton British School in Doha.
Her mother, a widow, lives with her other children Georgia, 16, and David, 14, in Kent.
They had moved back to Britain only recently, after living in Luxembourg for seven years.
‘A truly remarkable girl’: Lauren (pictured with two unidentified children), originally from Chislehurst in south east London, was working at the Newton British School in the Qatari capital
Her mother, a reflexologist, is believed to be flying out to Qatar. Neighbours were unaware of the apparent tragedy.
On Sunday, Miss Patterson’s boyfriend Mr Grima, an IT technician and DJ based in Malta, posted an appeal to track her down after becoming concerned about her whereabouts.
The alert went viral as hundreds joined the search for her but hours later Mr Grima announced that she had died.
On Facebook he said: ‘I can’t believe that it had to end this way Lauren, I really don’t.
‘I was so happy that I had finally found someone that could change my life so much, and in such a positive way too…
Tragedy: Lauren with boyfriend John Grima, who had posted an appeal on Facebook after she went missing
Popular destination for British expats: The primary school teacher disappeared in the early hours on Saturday in the Qatari capital of Doha (above)
‘Rest In Peace babe … I will always look up at the sky cause you always were the brightest star and always will be.’
Mr Grima added: ‘I love you so much babe, I really do and I can’t get over the fact that you were taken away so cruelly, it really breaks my heart to think about it. I know you’re watching over us, wherever you are, and I know that I will meet you again one day.’
The Foreign Office said it was aware of reports that a body had been discovered but were unable to comment further.
A spokesman said: ‘We are aware of a British national, Lauren Patterson, reported missing in Qatar.
‘We are providing the family with consular assistance.’
Qatar, which will host the World Cup in 2022, is considered to be one of the safest spots in the Middle East for expatriates.
But last November an American pre-school teacher, 40-year-old Jennifer Brown, was allegedly killed there by a Kenyan security guard.
He will face trial next month and could be given the death penalty if convicted.