Body on the Beach: What Happened to Annie? Interview With Journalist Hazel Martin

Body on the Beach What Happened to Annie? Interview With Journalist Hazel Martin

Body on the Beach: What Happened to Annie? Interview With Journalist Hazel Martin

What happened to Annie Börjesson?

Since Annie’s body was found on Prestwick Beach in Scotland on December 4, 2005, her friends and family have repeatedly asked this question.

Quickly labelled a tragic suicide by the authorities, Body on the Beach: What Happened to Annie?, which airs this week on BBC Scotland, BBC Three and iPlayer this week, looks into the strange and mysterious circumstances surrounding the death of a Swedish man in Edinburgh when he was 30.

Scottish journalist Hazel Martin has always been intrigued by Annie’s story.

As she investigates, Hazel discovers disturbing discrepancies in the forensic analysis and runs into a wall of secrecy and classified documentation related to Annie’s death.

We discussed the findings with Hazel.

Hi Hazel. Why did you want to make this series?

My dad is from near to where Annie’s body was found. I know the area well and spent much of my childhood there. As an investigative journalist, I love a story that takes time to get to the crux of, and I love giving people a platform to have their voices heard. For me, Annie’s story does exactly that.

Why do you think Annie’s case continues to hold people’s attention?

There is a real human element to Annie’s story, which I think lots of people can relate to. Annie was full of life, she loved music, she had friends and family who adore her, miss her and feel there is more to what happened to her than has been officially reported. People empathise and can really relate to that, I think.

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The mystery surrounding Annie’s death is really intriguing too. The popularity of true crime series today just goes to show that viewers are captivated by trying to work out what really happened in stories like Annie’s, and the fact that her case has gained so much traction over the years makes it a difficult one to ignore.

Why did you want to make this series now?

When she died, Annie was the same age that I am now – her case really struck a chord. To this day there are so many question marks over Annie’s death. The fact that Annie’s family feel like they are missing answers, coupled with the suspicion of foul play, really piqued my interest. Her case has been picked up by YouTubers and internet sleuths alike – this online speculation has meant her story continues to be looked at in the present day.

Did you discover anything new about Annie’s case, when making this series?

You’ll have to watch it to find out! But yes, there are some critical new details about Annie’s death which emerged as a result of this series.

We have compiled a document of 11 points that we think are worth re-looking at, which has now been submitted to the Scottish Fatalities Unit (the specialised unit responsible for investigating deaths in Scotland). Some of the information we included is new – for example, the UK’s leading forensic pathologist, Dr Stuart Hamilton, suggested that marks on Annie’s body looked like they might be bruising. These marks had not been included in the post-mortem report at the time.

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Did you face any challenges when making this documentary?

As a journalist it can be difficult to leave stories like this at the door. Annie was a person, her family have to live without her in their lives and have spent nearly 20 years looking for answers. It can be difficult not to feel those feelings when working on any story like this, not least for the length of time and the work that went into it – well over a year. I got to know Annie, even though I have never met her. It’s impossible not to become invested.

What do you hope viewers will take away from this series?

I hope they get a sense of who Annie was, and that they feel invested in her case. These are real events with real people at the heart of it. The immense work that the team put into making this series is something I hope comes across too – we spent a lot of time looking at the evidence and speaking to experts to see if anything could have potentially been missed.

Body on the Beach: What Happened to Annie? will air on BBC Scotland and BBC iPlayer from Tuesday 4 July, and BBC Three from Wednesday 5 July.

Alastair James is the editor in chief for Memorable TV. He has been involved in media since his university days. Alastair is passionate about television, and some of his favourite shows include Line of Duty, Luther and Traitors. He is always on the lookout for hot new shows, and is always keen to share his knowledge with others.