On December 4, 2005, the body of Annie Borjesson, a 30-year-old Swedish woman, was discovered on the shore of Prestwick, a town on the west coast of Scotland. A few days later, on 7 December 2005, a local newspaper published a brief account of her death:
An area of Prestwick beach was cordoned off at the weekend after a woman’s body was found washed up on the shore. A dog walker discovered the 31-year-old woman’s body about 8.30am on Sunday near to Maryborough Road. A police investigation team quickly sealed off the area but there are no suspicious circumstances surrounding her death.
Police ruled the death a suicide by drowning, but Annie’s family wasn’t convinced. As they began to investigate, they found some unanswered questions.
Annie’s body arrived back in Sweden. There, the undertakers claimed she had several bruises that she seemed to have incurred while she was still alive. The autopsy in Scotland contained only a few notes.
Body was heavily contaminated by sand and seaweed…….lungs were congested…..air passages contained ‘a frothy material’. Conclusion: death by drowning.
Official reports had concluded that other marks on the corpse were the result of collisions with debris in the sea. Pieces of tissue removed during the post-mortem were also examined by the Swedish forensic service. A professor in strasbourg found tiny diatom shells – algae – in the sample and identified them as navicula lanceolata. It was an unexpected discovery. Far from confirming that Annie had drowned, it tended to cast doubt on the conclusion of the post-mortem. Navicula lanceolata is a freshwater rather than a seawater diatom.
Annie lived in Edinburgh, but on December 3, she traveled 129 kilometers to Prestwick Airport for unknown reasons. There was a flight to Gothenburg around 6.30 that evening, and another the following morning. The family assume that she was intending to fly home. It transpired that she had an appointment in Sweden with her hairdresser, Inger Nossborn, on Monday. She tried to withdraw cash using her credit card twice, first £100, then £50. Both times, she didn’t have enough funds in her account to complete the transaction. She was later captured on CCTV.
In the first image from the airport, Annie was wearing a winter jacket, later found near her body on Prestwick beach, a red and white fleece, trousers and trainers. She also carried a shoulder back. In the second shot, around 3.16, she was seen walking towards the car park. Independent investigators recreated the route Annie took through the airport. Comparing this to the victim’s CCTV footage, they determined she would not have been able to complete the route in the recorded 55 seconds unless she had been running.In total, she spent less than five minutes at the airport. A friend later saw the footage and said Annie appeared to be walking around looking “annoyed and angry.” She then began walking toward Prestwick itself. She wasn’t familiar with the town, which was about a mile away from the airport. A witness later claimed to have seen a figure standing on the beach near the sea. The person was about 150 yards away, he and a friend reckoned. He or she was standing motionless at the edge of the water. By the time the friends turned for home, twenty minutes had elapsed since the first sighting, yet it seemed the lone figure on the shore hadn’t budged. There was no one else on the beach. It occurred to the man that the person might be contemplating suicide. He mentioned this possibility to his friend. But they thought no more about it until the following morning.
The entire investigation was shrouded in secrecy. Scottish authorities refused to release tissue samples that could help clarify the cause of death. When the family accessed Annie’s email account, they found that it had been wiped. A friend discovered that the victim’s phone company had failed to register any of the calls she had made to Annie during 2005. The phone company refused to discuss this.
This friend soon began to receive silent phone calls. Family members too had problems with their email accounts. It later came to light that Annie’s hair had been cut after her death and thrown away. Maria also discovered that her friend’s full name – Annie Kristina Borjesson – was almost identical to that of a journalist in the United States who, it was thought, had been investigating rendition flights through Prestwick Airport.
Annie’s family continues to campaign. Her mother met with the First Minister of Scotland and a petition of 3,000 signatures was signed for more information about Annie’s death.
Questions still remain unanswered.
Why would a woman living in Edinburgh travel 80 miles to commit suicide?
Why was she running in the airport?
And what did she mean, a day before her death, when she said to her family on the phone:
I have to take care of myself.