'My daughter is scared. We are dealing with powerful people,' says mother of escort girl who dropped assault case against Gaddafi's nephew


Last updated at 22:26 08 September 2007

The mother of an escort girl told last night how her daughter had fled in terror from London after dropping charges of assault against Colonel Gaddafi's nephew.

Karen Etchebery is in hiding in Brazil after the collapse of a criminal case against Mohamed Al Sanussi last month which has created diplomatic tensions between Britain and Libya.

Mr Al Sanussi, son of the head of Libyan intelligence, was accused of punching Ms Etchebery in the face and bruising a second escort girl, Patricia Bech, after he had hired them for an evening of "drinking and dancing" at his London home.

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Prosecutors at Blackfriars Crown Court said Ms Etchebery "sustained complex fractures of the skull".

But the case was abandoned after ten days when the two alleged victims withdrew their evidence.

Legal sources claimed that prior to the trial there had been intense lobbying of the Foreign Office by the Libyans on behalf of Mr Al Sanussi --including the suggestion that a £450million gas deal struck with BP in May could be jeopardised.

His father, Abdullah Al Sanussi, is Gadaffi's brother-in-law and has been linked by intelligence services to the Lockerbie bombing and the downing of a French airliner over Africa.

Ms Etchebery refused to discuss the case last night, but Ivanette Etchebery said her 21-year-old daughter had left Britain on a oneway ticket after the case collapsed.

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"We are dealing with some very powerful people," she said. "My daughter returned home at the time noticeably beaten up. Her face was battered. She was frightened."

The case has led to the breakdown of the friendship between the girls, who often entertained clients together from their £450,000 apartment in Bayswater.

Ms Bech, 25, said last week that she would not talk abut the case.

But a "friend" then called this newspaper and suggested a deal in which Ms Bech's name and picture would be removed from the paper if he provided evidence concerning the reason for the collapse of the case.

"It will cause problems for her to publish her details," he said.

"You don't expect to spend an evening with someone and then discover that he is Gaddafi's nephew."

No such evidence was forthcoming.

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But Ms Bech then phoned, saying that she and Ms Etchebery had worked for a madame called "Chloe" at London escort agency Girls from Paradise, who "knows the truth about what went on".

When the number she gave for "Chloe" was dialled, a well-spoken woman answered.

Sounding nervous, she asked, "Who gave you my number?" and ended the call.

Neighbours of Mohamed Al Sanussi, who was renting a £2million home in Knightsbridge at the time of the assault, said yesterday that he had returned to Libya.

Legal and diplomatic circles have been full of speculation about the reasons for the case's collapse.

The Foreign Office admits that it passed a letter from the Libyans to the Director of Public Prosecutions about Mr Al Sanussi, but refuses to discuss whether it included threats to the BP deal.

Officials say the case collapsed due to legal problems, and the Libyan representations were "in line with standard procedure".

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