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#339456 - 29th Jul 2009 6:17pm Wirral Man Beaten Unconscious By a Gang on Holiday

Holiday from hell on Greek island

A STUDENT from Wirral was beaten unconscious by a gang armed with wooden planks while on holiday in Crete.

Michael Jones, 20, sustained fractures to his skull and nose and damage to his right ear during the incident which occured yards from a hotel in the resort of Malia in the early hours of Sunday, July 5.

He was unconscious for eight hours.

Within hours of the attack his parents, Maurice and Gail, were on their way from the family home in Greasby to be at his bedside.

Because of his head injury, Michael was unable to fly home.

So a three-and-a-half day journey by train and ferry home followed and the family returned home on July 17.

He still has little memory of the evening's events, cannot walk properly and has lost a stone in weight because he did not eat for four days while in hospital.

He told the Globe. "We were given great feedback about Malia, which is why we decided to go.

But people need to be warned about what can happen out there.

"In the travel agents' brochure, Malia is described as a brilliant place that's just an amazing holiday for youngsters. We were never given any bad feedback."

Michael and his friends arrived in the resort, situated on the northern coast of Crete, on July 4.

The holiday was booked through travel company First Choice on its 2wentys youth package.

One of the firm's representatives had taken the group of six out to see a few bars that night.

After a few hours, the group split up and made its way back to the Hotel Malia in Heraklion. It was then that the incident occurred.

Michael, who is due to begin studies for a media degree at Sheffield University in September, said: "According to my friend, Nick, who was with me at the time, there was a confrontation between us and this gang of 15 lads. The only person who saw it was the hotel paramedic.

"According to Nick, the lads took planks of wood from the beach and had beaten me unconscious. Nick can remember that there was a bit of banter between us and the group. It may have been a row about rugby and football, but I really don’t know.

"When my friends first saw me lying there, they thought I was dead, because of the amount of blood that was around me and the damage to my face.

"I was choking on blood. Nick had to hold my tongue to stop me swallowing my tongue."

His father Maurice, a policeman, said: "It's been a nightmare. No-one wants a phone call at four o'clock in the morning to say their son's been beaten up and at first we didn’t know how serious his injuries were.

"It was a totally unprovoked attack and the whole family is devastated by it.

"The welfare representative for First Choice, Jacqueline, was absolutely fantastic, because she put us in contact with the British Consulate. The actual reporting of the crime was really difficult.

"The incident was reported to police, but they wouldn't come out because the incident had finished.

"I was told by police that it was my fault, because as a parent I should not have let Michael go to Malia.

"They told me that I couldn’t report the incident, so Michael would have to do this himself, when he gets out of hospital. But by the time that happened, the people who assaulted him would have been long gone.

"Eventually the police came out to the hotel after the fourth attempt. That was after the British Consulate got involved.

"The British Consulate faxed me a letter in Greek, setting out the rights that Michael was entitled to. I had to take this to the police station to get it reported.This was on the fourth attempt.

"The police have said they are investigating it. But in my opinion they were just obstructive. When I went to the station, they said they weren't the ones dealing with it and I would have to post the letter to another station.

"If this is how they deal with incidents of crime over there, it just makes me think they are making it so difficult to report crime.

"In my passport, it says a country should assist an EU citizen and not hinder, which is exactly what the police were doing."

"Malia's a dreadful place and I would urge anyone thinking about going out there to make sure they've got insurance.

"Luckily, Michael had an E111 card, because it would have cost us £2,500 for each of the three CT scans he had.

"My advice to young people thinking about going to Malia is don't.

"If they are going to go out to a European country in the EU, make sure they’ve got an E111. Otherwise, they won’t be covered if anything goes wrong.”

A spokesman for First Choice said: "The health and safety of all customers is of the utmost importance to 2wentys and our resort representatives are employed to ensure guests have a safe and enjoyable time on holiday.

"We are deeply sympathetic to Mr Jones's ordeal and wish him a speedy recovery.

"Following the incident, our resort staff did everything they could to assist Mr Jones, and his friend, and this is demonstrated in his praise for the excellent way in which he was treated by our staff.

"We can confirm that this is the first incident of this nature in Malia this year that we are aware of.

"2wentys offer a range of holiday experiences abroad, taking into account that different types of holidaymakers seek different types of experiences with like-minded people.

"We encourage our customers to behave in a sensible manner whilst abroad, and ensure that the activities we organise in resorts, such as bar crawls, are organised and led responsibly.

"Whilst our reps' role is to ensure that everyone has a good time, we do take our customers safety seriously and our reps do look out for people they feel may be drinking to excess.

However, we do have to rely to a certain extent on our customers having a sense of their own limitations.

"2wentys also support the Foreign Commonwealth Office’s campaign aimed at the youth demographic in resort, to target young people who are away from home, possibly for the first time.

"This campaign relays health and safety messages offering our customers advise such as not to walk home alone at night, and we urge all customers to take note of the advice offered.

"This campaign relays health and safety messages offering our customers advise such as not to walk home alone at night, and we urge all customers to take note of the advice offered.

"Malia is, and continues to be, a popular holiday destination and we would like to reassure customers planning to travel there in the future that they can expect to enjoy the quality of holiday they'd expect from 2wentys.

"The welfare of all our customers is paramount. However, despite our in resort initiatives, what our customers choose to do whilst overseas is ultimately a matter of personal choice."


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#339501 - 29th Jul 2009 8:55pm Re: Wirral Man Beaten Unconscious By a Gang on Holiday [Re: ]
hoseman Offline
Forum Master

Registered: 30th Sep 2007
Posts: 2346
Loc: Bromborough
Me and my mates had a simelar one in Rhodes many years ago!
Not as horrific as this mind, just problems with the Greek police!
WE hed been in a bar ALL night, owned by Greek friends of ours, hadnt moved except to go out the back to the loo.
Saw a couple of Greek chavs (yes they have them too!!) bozzing around thinking they are it! We where laughing at them everytime they `cruised` past , to their annoyance.
Then they pulled out on a police car, causing him to brake to avoid collision, we were in stitches and shouting words of `encouragement` to the lads!!
Next they had a heated descussion with the police, arms gesturing to us!
We burst out laughing, as was the Greek bar owner and staff, all our friends.
Next the police came over to us and gestured to come outside, i did, the others stayed. It then emerged that the lads had told the police WE had scratched their car and they were looking for us!!
Shit hit the fan, i flew into one, and greek staff had to step in to vouch for us all. Police didnt beleive them and carted us off for questioning, not at a police station mind you, out in a country road, not too far from our villa. I explained AGAIN what had realy happened with the chavs. we were searched at the roadside, then escorted to our villa, which they wanted to search for drugs!!
None of us smoked, nevermind did drugs, but they turned the place upside down for ages! God were they disapointed!!
We waved them goodbye even as they threatened to lock us up if they saw us on the streets again!!
My last time in Rhodes, about 15yrs ago!!



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