‘Nightmare’ holiday saw duo held in police cell over prank
PUBLISHED: 09:17 17 September 2018
Two women from Dunmow were arrested and spent three days in a police cell in Corfu after playing an ‘innocent’ prank on three Greek men at a beach.
Shona Cox and Vicki Albone, both 20, were on holiday in Corfu last week when they met the men at the beach one evening, who said they were 21.
“As the night went on I dared one of them, named Christoper, to run into the sea in just his boxers as we thought it would be funny,” Shona said.
“As he did, his two friends started laughing and got their phones out to record him. While he was in the sea, I grabbed his clothes from a sun lounger and ran off a bit further up the beach and put his clothes about 10 sun loungers along.
“I knew his friends were watching me because I’d made sure of it. Vicki and I then ran back to our hotel rooms and thought nothing more of it. We thought all he had to do was walk a few metres in his boxers and collect his clothes.”
Later that day, at around 6.30pm, Shona and Vicki were called to the hotel reception and met by the hotel manager and Greek police.
Christopher had alleged they had stolen his clothes and a Rolex watch, worth 400 euros.
“He said that his friends had chased us back to our hotel room and saw us go in with the clothes and the watch. We didn’t even touch a watch,” Shona said.
“The police said that if we didn’t hand over the watch, they would have to arrest us.
“Even after numerous times explaining to them that we didn’t take the clothes or the watch they still asked us to give it back and eventually arrested us.”
Shona and Vicki were taken to a police station and after three hours of phoning, they found a lawyer based in Corfu who spoke English and Greek.
“While making my statement, I was getting randomly shouted at by a male police officer for no reason other than I was struggling to understand what he was asking,” Shona said. “The lawyer tried to explain to us in English but would then stop mid-sentence and start speaking to the officer in Greek.
“This happened several times. We were confused and frustrated as nothing was being communicated to us and everyone was speaking in Greek. By then, it was 3am Sunday morning - we hadn’t eaten anything since Saturday lunchtime.
“We were told we would need to spend a night in a cell and that everything would be sorted the next day.”
The pair were strip searched before entering the cell at 5am on the Sunday morning.
“We were put into a cell with 14 beds. We had to share with three other women. There was graffiti all over the walls, including a message written in blood, which looked as if it had been there for a long time.
“The mattresses were rotten, there was liquid coming out of mine and we weren’t given a sheet, pillow, a blanket or anything.
“The floor was covered in water so we couldn’t even sleep there. Smoking was allowed in the cell so it stank of stale cigarettes.
“I sat on the rotten mattress for about five minutes and went straight into the bathroom to throw up. A security officer heard me and didn’t even bother to ask if I was okay.”
Shona and Vicki’s hotel room was searched on Sunday and despite nothing being found, they were kept in the cell for another night.
They were finally given food and water at 8pm on Sunday night.
On Monday, the pair attended court, but it was postponed until the Wednesday as two of Christopher’s friends needed to testify.
Shona and Vicki were allowed back to their hotel on Monday evening and on Wednesday afternoon, they received a call to say they had been found not guilty.
“This experience was really traumatic for the both of us. From start to finish, we were both treated so badly I’ve never seen anything like it. We got given one meal in three days and weren’t even given fresh water.
“Our basic human rights were just taken away and no one cared.
“I’d like to think I’m quite a strong person but I have never cried so much or been so scared in my life and neither has Vicki.
“Even though we’re now back home and safe, we still have nightmares about it.
“This is a warning to everyone before they go to Greece - it may be a nice destination to go to but if a time comes that you’re in trouble and you actually need help, this is how they treat you.
“All this because a 17 year old boy made up a lie - yes, he’s 17 and he even lied to us about his age.”