By: Caroline Cunha
POLICE HAVE arrested and charged a suspect in connection with the violent mugging of a British woman in Loulé in January.
Mary Jo Morgan, who runs the Europa Algarve language school in Loulé, was mugged while walking to her car in the town centre on January 4.
In a shockingly violent assault, the 59-year-old was left with a broken nose, broken arm and fractured shoulder. Her handbag was taken, as well as all her documents, asthma medication and glasses.
A 19-year-old Portuguese man was arrested in connection with the crime by Loulé GNR last week and was later charged with grievous bodily harm. The man, who is said to suffer from drug problems, is also accused of carrying out other robberies in the area. He had been working in the city as what police describe as an unofficial parking attendant, finding spaces in return for loose change. Mary Jo left the language school on the day of the assault at around 9pm. She was carrying her handbag and had her small dog with her.
She walked up Rua Almeida Garrett, and walking towards her was a well dressed man, who asked her in Portuguese if she knew the whereabouts of the post office.
Mary Jo pointed in the direction of its location, saying, “It’s over there,” and told the man that it would be closed. She doesn’t remember anything that happened after this brief conversation. Following the police investigation that led to the man’s arrest, Mary Jo was able to confirm that the man being held was the same who had asked her for directions.
“Even though this man has been arrested, I still feel afraid because I’m not sure if he acted alone and I am scared of reprisals,” said Mary Jo. “To be honest it has ruined my life. I don’t know how long it will take to get my peace of mind back. Loulé Câmara’s president needs to follow the example of the former Mayor of New York, Rudy Guyliani, who cleaned up that city, these people need to be taken off the streets,” she said.
“The police have been very good and were very kind to me, but they need backing from the other authorities to solve these social problems.”
The Resident contacted Loulé Câmara to find out what is being done about the drug addicts living on the city’s streets. “The câmara tries to identify those with drug problems on the streets and is paying for rehabilitation programmes at specialist clinics for some individuals. We also created Banco Solidário a year ago – a support centre located near the stadium, where they can wash, obtain food, clothing and receive psychological support.
“Loulé câmara is concerned with security and is working with other authorities to solve these problems,” said a spokesperson.
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