Irish couple robbed twice during nightmare holiday in Portugal

Donegal man complains insurance company did not cover cost of theft in Albufeira

 Dermot and his fiancee were just two days into their holiday at the Portuguese resort of Albufeira when they were confronted by a gang in the resort town. File photograph: Getty Images

Dermot and his fiancee were just two days into their holiday at the Portuguese resort of Albufeira when they were confronted by a gang in the resort town. File photograph: Getty Images

 

An Irish couple’s holiday in Portugal to celebrate their engagement turned into a nightmare this week after they were robbed twice – once at gunpoint – and then discovered their travel insurance policy was insufficient to cover their losses.

A Donegal man, who only gave his first name, called RTÉ’s Liveline from Faro airport on Friday afternoon with the story.

Dermot and his fiancee arrived in the Portuguese resort of Albufeira a week previously and were just two days into their holiday when they were confronted by a gang in the resort town on Sunday evening.

They were forced at gunpoint into a car and driven to a remote location around an hour from their hotel.

“We saw [the gang] at a bakery. They came out of it while we were passing,” he said. “They pulled a gun on me and my partner. They forced us into the car and took us up a back road an hour away from the strip. They were going to shoot me and sell my fiancee for money as a sex slave,” he said.

He said the driver of the car had had to stop one of the gang shooting him in the head. The gang took about €300 from the couple and forced them to drive to an ATM.

The woman was sent to withdraw more money but as Dermot had given her a card which could only access an account with insufficient funds, she was unable to get any more. The gang told Dermot to go assist her, after which the couple fled the scene.

While he sustained a sprained ankle they escaped and immediately made a full statement to local police.

They were largely confined to their hotel for the remainder of their holiday with virtually no money.

On the last day they went out for a short period but when they returned to their hotel they were horrified to discover their room had been ransacked with credit and debit cards stolen as well as at least one mobile phone.

He said police had identified the criminal gang and had the house in which they were staying under surveillance.

Dermot expressed frustration at the travel insurance company AIG who he said had failed to help him and his fiancee. He said they had been given no emergency cash and had not been allowed to move hotels after the original robbery.

In response to the couple’s story an AIG spokeswoman told The Irish Times that while the company “sympathises with the situation this couple found themselves in and has been in regular contact with the couple since the incident to offer its support” they were not covered for what had happened.

“Travel insurance policies only cover certain specified scenarios such as medical expenses, travel delay cover and cover for lost or stolen baggage,” the spokeswoman continued.

“The scenario in question is not covered by our travel insurance policies and therefore the policy taken in this instance does not apply.”