Bombings: Family braced for bad news

By Juliette MaxamTHE family of a talented lawyer are bracing themselves for the devastating news that she has been killed in the London bombings.Fiona Stevenson, from Chelmsford, set off for work in London on Thursday morning, but never arrived.

By Juliette Maxam

THE family of a talented lawyer are bracing themselves for the devastating news that she has been killed in the London bombings.

Fiona Stevenson, from Chelmsford, set off for work in London on Thursday morning, but never arrived.

Her family still hope she is alive, but as the days tick by they are facing up to the likelihood that Miss Stevenson was one of the victims of the terrorist attacks.

A statement was released yesterday on behalf of her family, which said: “If Fiona's family receive the confirmation that Fiona died in last week's atrocities, they and her friends will be devastated by the loss - Fiona is irreplaceable.”

Her family and work colleagues also paid tribute to the 29-year-old bubbly fun-loving solicitor.

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Miss Stevenson, who was brought up and educated in the Chelmsford area, went to St John's Primary School in Danbury, and New Hall School and King Edward's Grammar School in Chelmsford.

She left her home at the Barbican at 8.20am to go to work, but no-one has been able to contact her since.

Her parents, Ivan and Emer, who live in Danbury, said: “Fiona always had a strong sense of right and wrong and was passionate about human rights.

“Since the age of 14 she had wanted to be a lawyer and had a long-term ambition to work for the U.N. so it was no surprise when she qualified in 2000 as a solicitor.”

They said Miss Stevenson was “articulate, strong-willed, vibrant, energetic, caring and generous”, while her younger sister Andrea and friends always said she never held a grudge.

Miss Stevenson started work at specialist criminal law firm Reynolds Dawson in 2003 as an assistant solicitor, where she worked as a duty solicitor in court and police stations, specialising in specialist fraud and extradition.

Her colleagues, Colin Reynolds and Elizabeth Fox, said: “Her entire career history was a testament to her dedication to the cause of representing those ensnared in the criminal justice system, but unable to defend themselves.

“Fiona was a hardworking, conscientious and supremely able criminal lawyer. Within a small practice her bubbly personality, care and compassion for colleagues, as well as clients, were cherished qualities, which will be sorely missed.

“The firm will forever be the poorer at her loss in such tragic circumstances and is devastated at the thought that the contribution she had made to date to the practice and its reputation, and ultimately to her chosen profession, will not now come to fruition.”

Earlier this year Miss Stevenson took a four-month unpaid sabbatical to Belize as a volunteer for Challenges World Wide, helping the government set up appropriate practices within the criminal justice system as it set up a new child care policy.

While she was in Belize Miss Stevenson, who “adored diving”, completed two diving qualifications and a dive in the Blue Hole. She also competed in the 180-mile long Ruta Maya four-day kayak race.

juliette.maxam@eadt.co.uk

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