British lawyers are giving their services free to help the two nurses charged with murder in Saudi Arabia.

Peter Watson, head of litigation at Glasgow firm Levy & McRae, is representing Scots nurse Lucy McLauchlan while Rodger Pannone, of Manchester firm Pannone & Partners, in conjunction with Paul Taylor, head of the forensic department, are looking after the interests of Deborah Parry.

The two nurses have been charged with the murder of fellow nurse Yvonne Gilford, who was found stabbed, battered and smothered in her room at the King Fahd Military Medical Centre in Dhahran last month.

Watson and Pannone, who are offering their services free, are well-known for acting in high-profile cases such as the Piper Alpha oil rig explosion and the Lockerbie bombing.

They became involved in this case at the request of the nurses' families and law firm Salah Al-Hegailan, which is representing the nurses in Saudi Arabia.

Pannone said they would be trying to collate and examine forensic evidence which would play a crucial part in the case. He predicted that if the case came to trial it would be at least three months before anything happened.

“We have been given assurances by the Saudi ambassador that there will be fair treatment. It is in the interest of everyone to avoid a miscarriage of justice,” Watson said.

“The world recognises that confession-only convictions are notoriously unsafe and are internationally recognised as the single biggest source of miscarriages of justice.”

Levy & McRae is asking people in Saudi Arabia who have any information about the case to contact the firm by e-mail.