The nightmare may at last be over for 25-year-old Sophie Grey – but her family are outraged by the six-month suspended jail sentence she has finally received after being left “high and dry” in a Portuguese jail for four and a half months.
Father Roger told the family’s hometown newspaper the South Wales Argus earlier this week that they are considering seeking compensation.
“I think she was imprisoned illegally”, he told the paper.
Sophie’s plight only made it into the press in July, when her family were at their wits end with the difficulties put their way (click here).
Sophie had been arrested after her boyfriend and another man were involved in what was described as an “altercation” with police in Praia das Maças, a seaside town near Sintra.
Her family said she was not even aware of her crime when she was arrested, but due to the fact that she had no permanent address in Portugal, or anyone to vouch for her, she was remanded in custody.
“She’s in a cell with four other people. The first person she met that could speak English was a murderer”, Roger Grey told reporters at the time.
After pressure from local Welsh MP David Davies who was said to have contacted Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson, the story made it into national and international press.
As David Davies explained: “In the UK this sort of crime wouldn’t have been dealt with like this. One of the charges appears to be for shouting at a police officer, so I am concerned”.
Sophie was finally released on August 18 – when the family told their local paper that they were still “no clearer” of the charges she faced.
Her release was made on the understanding that she remained in Portugal until the trial date.
That came up at long last at Sintra court, and the sentences have finally been given: six months’ suspended for Sophie for hitting a police agent who, according to Sophie’s father, admitted in court that she did not mean to hit him “she was just flailing her arms around”.
“I think it was a very harsh sentence for what happened”, Roger Grey told the South Wales Argus.
His daughter was acquitted of two other charges, added the paper, not explaining what these charges were but stressing that the family had hoped she was be acquitted on all the charges.
Sophie’s unnamed boyfriend and the other man were also handed suspended sentences (three years each), and ordered to pay fines reaching €9000, reports Correio da Manhã today.
Despite being unhappy about the court’s decision, Sophie’s family are clearly relieved that they have reached the point where their daughter can finally return home.
Her father told reporters that he hopes Sophie will be back in Wales within the next “two to three weeks”.