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Citizens Locked up Abroad Access to Legal Aid from Home

Comment 31st July 2010

My name is Lesley Pumfrey I have nine children and four grandchildren. I am 44 years old. I live in my own home in Eastbourne East Sussex and I am a senior medical secretary in the Urology 
Department at Eastbourne EDGH. I am married to Karl and we have been together for seventeen years. All have brought all of my kids up to respect their elders and the laws of our country. Unfortunately one of my daughters has had a hard life. From her father rejecting her to then being horrendously bullied all through school when we live on the Romney Marsh Kent with no protection from head of that school as he would not accept he had a school run by bullies. I campaigned to change things nothing was done. She then got herself pregnant in 2005 and she was not able to look after herself let alone a baby so she went for a termination. In the November that year on thinking she got pregnant again we found the termination failed and she consequently had a little girl Casey. We put her in a mother and baby unit run by a charity which then became a nightmare for us all when one of the staff took disliking to her and accused her of all sorts (proved most of things they said were wrong) she ended up with Casey on at risk register. By this time Nicola had given up it seemed what ever she did it was always a negative feedback to slap her down and so I ended up with Casey coming to live with me in January 2009.  She then went off the rails drinking alot and not having anywhere to live. She moved in with a friend in Newhaven. Her friend then got a new boyfriend and in the April of that year I found out her friends boyfriend had been beating her and making her prostitute and even kidnapped her from Brighton and took her to Beachyhead and threatened to throw her off if she did not do what he wanted. Her friends mum had called my dad and then me to tell me she had been to the police because he was grooming young girls and my daughter to prostitute for him and also to do a drug runs for his mates in London (there is lots more too this but have no room for all). I had called the police and my dad did too and they said even though what she was doing was illegal they could not help us unless she made a complaint. We got her home in the May June 2009 and she denied it all to us. Well in the Sept Oct she seemed to settle down and moved back into my mums got a job and the court case (sued the consultant who failed her) and she was suing for 24.000 and seemed to be getting herself sorted. She even went to the police and told them all about what this guy had done to her and that she was scarred as he was making threats against my mother and my granddaughter. She did not want anything done to him she wanted to let them know just in case anything happened to her(my dad was taken seriously ill and died on the 16th of October) I also had a health scare and had to have a bone marrow biopsy. Then on the 20th of November she disappeared. We reported her missing on the Saturday 21st to Sussex Police We told them about everything we knew. She had been communicating with one of her friends and she knew what was going on but kept lieing about everything. We found out she was in Brazil Soa Paulo. I put on her facebook so they could see and told her she could not think of bringing any drugs back as the police know everything and they will be questioning her when she got into the country. I also called her and told her this on the phone. She was denying it and said she was on holiday and a girl had given her a ticket as she could not go due to uni starting. We found out what hotel she was in and a police officer called it and confirmed she was there and leaving on 25th. She was on facebook alot and tried to get her to go to consulate (we knew she had someone with her as when we talked via facebook her responses were not what she would say. She then suddenly disapearred off of facebook and no-one heard anything from her for about a week. The police found out she had tried to book a flight with a card which had no money on. I kept texting even pleading to whoever had her to let her come home and we would pay them the money back somehow. This would be provable by phone company and looking on messages on facebook. I was told by a policeman a week before her arrest that agencies were talking to each other in the background and even though it looked like they were doing nothing to help get her home they were actively trying to help. He also did though say was she telling the truth about it all and I told him she had no money not a penny and we know for sure that what was being said was the truth. Then at 1.00 am on the 21st of December my mum called me in a state to say she had been arrested at Soa Paulo airport for having drugs in her bag. I called the police and told them she had been arrested and they took the message and I heard nothing from them. I contacted the consulate and when I did I asked had they been contacted regarding my daughter going missing and the only time they contacted them was when I had that day. It was obvious that the Brazilian Police had not been told what had happened to her as nothing had been said. No one at anytime from Sussex Police phoned to offer any kind of sympathy or help. So I wrote and demanded in writing all that they had done to find her but was refused on some clause to the freedom of information act. The only thing they said is that they would speak to her legal defence if they contacted them and to let them know we believed she did it under duress. I sent this letter to her. We do not have the funds for private lawyer so she has to have  public one. I am finding out this is the worst defence lawyers you can have as 98% of people who have one get sent down. All that happened to her before she went is needed for her defence and I am told that he has not turned up to see her. My daughter had no clothing and is stuck in a hell hole and no one wants to help. I think we should in these cases provide a defence lawyer our own legal aid for our citizens. Not all cases are cut and dried and at least they deserve a decent defence and more watching how they are being treated as I do not think the consulate is very helpful at all. Foreigners get more legal help here than they would in their own country. We should help the poorer person abroad and our citizens especially in a country like Brazil. We all know that human rights is the last thing they think about and the insanitary conditions over there. Bring them home to serve sentences.  I have a little girl now who has lost her mum for good as I don't think my daughter is going to come back to us. She is not strong and she is a victim in this. The police have let my family down and now I dont know what to say to my kids as I have said if you are in trouble go to the police but how can I justify that when our own law cannot prevent things like this when they have been told that there is a gang in London praying on young vulnerable girls and sending them over to bring their drugs back and there is nothing they will do to stop this. There needs to be a campaign to put posters in airports to show the devastation it has when a loved one is used like this and ends up in Hell miles from friends and family and civilisation.  My daughter could be being abused, rapped, tortured and there is no one to help. Has she not suffered enough. I just want to add that my daughter had her passport photocopied and was frightened as the person they sent was linked to the gang who put her there as he asked to take her case on (he asked for her by name).

Why does this matter?

Because it can save not just the life of the person locked up but also the family suffering at home. Being that they end up in Prison there for well my daughter before she came to trial will be eight months. We need to target the gang doing this not the victims they tortured to do it.

She had 7kg in her case wrapped in a towel and just thrown in the case was not even hidden now what does that tell you. Have any officers gone over to question her NO she is looking at 5 – 15 years that is time enough for the people here to change phones addresses so that when she gets home she cannot tell them nothing (other cerario she might not even make it home)!!!!!!!!!!!!

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