Anger as young Welsh woman left high and dry in Portuguese jail

The family of a young Welsh woman “stuck in a Portuguese jail” since April are at their wits end.

25-year-old Sophie Grey, a qualified carer, will not be granted bail as she has no Portuguese permanent address or family links, explains news sources in Wales.

Her father Roger has told them she is not even sure what she is meant to have done.

“She’s in a cell with four other people. The first person she met that could speak English was a murderer”.

Desperate for help, Roger Grey approached his local Conservative MP David Davies.

Davies describes Sophie’s situation as “manifestly unfair”.

The MP for Monmouth is apparently in touch with the Portuguese ambassador as well as foreign secretary Boris Johnson.

Hopes are that Sophie will be released and allowed home before the trial – scheduled for September 22.

Davies has told reporters that as far as he is concerned, Sophie is being discriminated against.

“The whole point of the European Arrest Warrant is to ensure that people can be released before they attend court. It’s built on fair play and this isn’t fair play”, he said.

As to Sophie Grey’s crime, this appears to be being treated as an assault on police.

Her father told the South Wales Argus that “the exact charges are unclear”, but Sophie appears to be charged with assaulting a police agent – “which she denies”.

He also said that “there is a charge relating to her dog biting an officer, a charge she also denies and says there is no evidence of”.

Mr Grey added that “on the charge sheet it says the maximum sentence is five years in prison”,

Sophie was in Portugal visiting her boyfriend when the pair was arrested. The boyfriend, also being held in jail, became “involved in an altercation with police”.

Sophie was not with him at the time, but “became agitated with police at her partner’s arrest and was charged with assaulting an officer”.

“Sophie is not a violent person”, her father has told reporters. “She’s quite feisty and she’ll stand her ground but she’s just a normal person in her 20s that wants to get on with her life.”

Former police officer Davies says he doesn’t “condone any behaviour against the police but it’s manifestly unfair that she’s been in prison for something like that.

“If this happened in London, if she came up and yelled at an officer, they would have told her to calm down. If she continued she might have got a public order offence but it would have been a fairly minor crime.”

Roger Grey’s concerns are for his daughter’s well-being. He told the South Wales Argus: “She is in prison with murderers and women jailed for drug smuggling. She is being treated reasonably well in prison and she is coping quite well, but I am worried about her mental state”, particularly as she is “only allowed out of her cell into a concrete yard for two hours a day”.

“Things are going backwards”, Mr Grey admitted. “At first we were told we would get her out in a couple of weeks, and home within a month, and it hasn’t happened”.

The Welsh press reports have since been picked up by the BBC and the Sun, so with any luck positive developments may follow.

Roger Grey told reporters that he originally found a place for his daughter to stay as she awaited the trial date, but “as there was not a family member living there, police feared she could abscond”.

Sophie’s family rely on day-to-day contact over this case with their daughter’s Portuguese solicitor, said the South Wales Argus.

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