By: DAISY SAMPSON
FIVE OF the six Romanian men found guilty of a series of violent robberies in the eastern Algarve in 2006 and 2007 have received prison sentences ranging from 10 to 23 years.
Alexandre Stocia, 29, received a sentence of 22 years and 10 months, Ion Radu, 31, was given 23 years and two months, Cláudio Vilcan, 29, was received 21 years and 10 months and Marius Lazer, 31 had the lesser sentence of 18 years and two months imprisonment.
Marius Lovin, the fifth defendant on trial at Faro court, was sentenced to a reduced term of 10 years because he only was involved in one of the robberies, has no criminal record and at 20 years old is younger than the other defendants.
The sixth man believed to be involved in the robberies has yet to be apprehended by the police and was therefore not in court.
The men targeted British and Dutch homes in isolated areas of the eastern Algarve and used various methods of torture for the victims to reveal PIN codes to bank accounts.
The attacks caused widespread alarm among foreign residents in the area.
Delivering his verdict, Judge Jorge Antunes drew attention to the fact that the attacks had caused extensive social alarm in the foreign community and that the courts “could not be lenient”.
The length of the sentences also reflected the lack of remorse from the defendants and the level of violence used.
The work of the GNR was praised by Judge Antunes because the six men had all concealed their identity using masks making their capture more difficult.
Investigators used scientific evidence obtained from cigarette butts and hairs found at the crime scenes and combined this with video surveillance from cameras at cash machines to catch the robbers.
Solicitors for the defence said they would be considering an appeal against the convictions based upon a lack of evidence against the defendants and the witnesses being unable to identify any of the accused.
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