Ex-pat dies during house robbery in Loulé

John T, a 59-year-old Englishman, lost his life during a terrifying robbery that took place in his luxury home in Sobradinho de Alfeição, in the borough of Loulé, in the early hours of yesterday morning. A masked gang reportedly burst into the villa at around 1.55am, while John and his wife, Helen, were sleeping. An autopsy, carried out by the Faro District Hospital, revealed that John T. died of a heart attack.

The gang apparently entered the house through a rear door that gave them access to the kitchen and, after cutting the phone lines, proceeded to tie up the English couple. According to this version of events that was supplied by neighbours, the gang included 10 men armed with guns and equipped with walkie talkies, similar to the type used by the police. The majority spoke in Portuguese, but four of them are said to have been of eastern European origin.

Helen, 55, who was nude, managed to escape and seek help at nearby Café Manuel Teresa, which lies 20 metres from the couple’s home. When Loulé GNR arrived at the villa, the assailants had fled the scene and the Englishman was found tied to a chair and already dead. The house, ironically named Casa da Paz (house of peace), was completely ransacked and the gang got away with jewellery, money and two BMW vehicles.

The couple’s house is fitted with a security system but is situated in a remote area, up a dirt track, and only has low walls, a situation which made it easier for the suspects to enter the property.

The Resident contacted the GNR press office who would only confirm the time and place of the fatal robbery. The case is being investigated by the Polícia Judiciária in Faro, who, at the present time, are also refusing to provide further details concerning the case.

Friends and neighbours are in shock following the tragedy and the death of the popular Englishman, who is said to have come to Portugal to enjoy a peaceful retirement. John was apparently a regular at the Poacher’s Inn pub in Almancil, where he regularly enjoyed a game of pool with other locals.

Sickened by the attack, around three dozen residents from the Sobradinho de Alfeição area went to Loulé Câmara yesterday to demand for action be taken to make the area more secure, since, apparently, there have been no less than nine robberies there in the past year. By co-incidence, the President of Loulé Câmara is said to be a former resident of Sobradinho de Alfeição. It has been reported that he has admitted that the GNR’s resources are insufficient to respond to the problems in the Loulé borough and he is, therefore, apparently intending to push for the creation of a municipal police force.