UK woman’s 2009 death in Crete was foul play

Jean Hanlon in Crete

UK woman's 2009 death in Crete was foul play Credit: Twitter/Chania Post

Jean Hanlon, 53, from Dumfries‘ lifeless body was pulled from the sea near Heraklion in 2009. Greek police deemed the incident foul play but closed the case due to a lack of evidence. 

Signs of a struggle were revealed post-mortem but the case was nonetheless closed, infuriating Jean’s son Michael Porter who revealed as quoted by the BBC that: “It changes you as a family.”

Ms Hanlon had lived in Crete for a number of years working in bars and her family has campaigned for 14 years to get some resolution to her passing, but they have been repeatedly frustrated by local police’s efforts.

ITV News Border posted this video of her son appealing for more information on Facebook on the 1oth anniversary of her tragic death back in 2019 saying:

“Ten years on: The family of Jean Hanlon have made a fresh appeal for information in an emotional press conference in Greece. The grandmother’s body was found in Heraklion harbour in 2009 after disappearing four days before. Her son and granddaughter believe there were suspicious circumstances surrounding her death.”

Since Mr Porter was seen to make this appeal in 2019 at which point the family were able to, in the wake of a documentary about their mother’s death and a subsequent feature on the Greek version of Crimeswatch, get the case re-opened for a third time.

The case was again closed for a lack of evidence, but the family vow to keep fighting for justice, despite continued let-downs and heartbreak. Mr Porter has admitted the toll on the family has been huge.

What continues to frustrate them is that Ms Hanlon was reported to be seen with a man around the time of her death in the port of Heraklion. Mr Porter was reported by the BBC as asking the telling question:

“If this man left on good terms and mum was still happy, alive, then why has he not come forward?”

It remains to be seen whether the investigation will be reopened for a fourth time and whether this much-maligned family will get the closure they deserve. What is without doubt though, is that they will keep fighting for justice as they have for the past 14 years.

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Written by

David Laycock

Dave Laycock has always written. Poems, songs, essays, academic papers as well as newspaper articles; the written word has always held a great fascination for him and he is never happier than when being creative. From a musical background, Dave has travelled the world performing and also examining for a British music exam board. He also writes, produces and performs and records music. All this aside, he is currently fully focussed on his journalism and can’t wait to share more stories from around the world and beyond.