The small roundabout at the bottom of Cardiac Hill near which the British girls first heard Joana's screams
The small roundabout at the bottom of Cardiac Hill near which the British girls first heard Joana's screams

Rape in Albufeira: mother puts out appeal for six British witnesses

Increasing number of ‘incidents’ in seaside town cause local unrest

The mother of a young Portuguese woman drugged and raped in Albufeira in the early hours of May 31 has put out a desperate appeal for six young British women who came to the rescue of her daughter.

The women may well have all been holidaymakers who have since returned to UK, thus the appeal has gone out over social media in the hope that it reaches them.

The group heard the desperate cries for help from 20-year-old ‘Joana’ (not her real name) and confronted the man who was dragging her by the waist close to Oura beach.

Joana herself was barely conscious, having no recollection of how she got there.

She has told police the little she can remember of her attack – one detail being that the man dragging her appeared to be Indian; spoke English with an Indian accent.

This man ‘fled’ as soon as the British women responded to Joana’s cries for help. The young woman’s mother thinks they saved her from a potentially even worse outcome.

But the reality is that medical tests showed up not only that Joana had been drugged; she was also raped – and this is not “a completely isolated case”, her mother stresses. There have been countless ‘incidents’ in the town that is crying out for reinforced policing as the summer holiday season approaches.

Local resident Raquel Rodrigues has taken to Facebook to denounce “attempted rapes, rapes and situations where (young women) are followed” – all of them described as involving immigrants.

Raquel Rodrigues describes herself as a “Mother. Catholic.Woman. Jurist. Trainer”. She is also connected to the local branch of CHEGA, which is branded ‘far right’, thus her Facebook post has seen some comments suggesting she is making everything up.

The Resident has spoken with a Portuguese single mother who claims to be one of the victims in the incidents highlighted by Raquel Rodrigues. 

In her case, the young woman realised she was being followed (as she drove towards Albufeira). It was just fortunate that she was driving to the house of her ‘ex’ to pick up her child, she said. When she stopped her car, the car following her stopped alongside. “I opened the door furious, banging it against the side of their car. My ex came out of the house – and they (the men inside the car, all apparently of Asian origin) made up a story of thinking the car was for sale, and then drove off. I wasn’t frightened”, she insisted. “I was furious. I was ready to punch them…”

Another Brazilian mother has told us of an incident she felt deeply uncomfortable with at a local playground: immigrant (again apparently Asian) men filming children with their mobile phones; getting “much too close to them.

“I told them to stop but they ignored me, and just kept filming, and talking at the same time on the phone”, she told us.

The trouble with this story – and so many others like it in other parts of the country – is that it can be perceived as racist; the singling out of a minority. But Raquel Rodrigues believes it has to be ‘exposed’, particularly in light of Joana’s horrific experience.

“These incidents are taking place every day; they are escalating”, she says.

Elsewhere, Tvi, CMTV/ SIC have carried recent stories of ‘incidents’ involving new arrivals to this country – particularly when it comes to TVDE drivers (Uber type) who are not licensed; don’t even speak the language.

Yesterday, SIC broadcast a long report about the changes underway in Mouraria, a once ‘typical Lisbon neighbourhood’, but now transformed by incoming minorities to the point that locals are clearly uncomfortable.

In the case of Joana, picking herself up from her trauma, her mother is emphatic “things have to change. We have to feel more secure in Albufeira. The council, business people, are forever asking for more police on the streets, but we are not getting the numbers we need, particularly in the Oura area”.

Police investigating Joana’s rape and abduction are confident they will identify how she was manhandled away from the bar in which she had been waiting for a friend to take her home after starting to feel ‘queasy’ (almost certainly from whatever drug had been administered without her noticing). They are trawling through CCTV images, and thankfully there are a lot of them, Joana’s mother tells us.

Meantime, she believes the witness statements of those six British girls could be key. They certainly will be if the man is identified. 

Anyone who thinks they may know who the young women are is asked to pass the appeal to come forwards on to them.

Otherwise, the advice from Raquel Rodrigues, Joana’s mother and the women we have spoken with is that people spending time in Albufeira need to be aware of these incidents, and “take care”.

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