surrey , Surrey
However in 2008 my life and my familys life changed forever.
My son Robert who had been a pro and semi footballer decided to go on holiday with three other friends to Malia in Crete.
I was just like any mum I worried about Rob going abroad and remembered saying to him just before he went please be careful and take care.but like most youngster Robert gave me the look as if to say dont fuss mum I will be fine
However on June the 17th five days after arriving in crete my worst nightmare began.
Below I have put the some words together to explain a little of what my family were going through at that time but since then five years have gone by and many things have happened .
So theres so much more I can tell you on all the pitfalls and loopholes that a victims family will have to face and go through in the aftermath of crime abroad.Please understand if my spelling or gramer is not correct but every word written was painfull to write as my family only have one wish.
That this attempted murder never ever happened and all this is just a horrible dream.
You can look my son and my ongoing story up on line on google.Rob Hughes footballer attacke in Crete .
Maggie Hughes victims campaigner abroad.
The beginning of a nightmare.
Any story is hard to tell when it has a back ground of sadness in its title. So forgive me if I don't fully explain everything that has happened to date as some of this story I still canít bring myself to remember...............
This story began when my son Robert who was a once a pro footballer came to my home late one night in June 2008 and asked me if he could use my suit case as he was off to Greece for 10 day holiday to Malia in Crete.
I can't explain to you fully what I am trying to say but my senses were telling me to tell Robert to be wary and to take care of himself over there in Malia.
Itís very strange as I have never felt like this before when Robert has gone abroad, as he has always been very sensible and never got in to any trouble or had any problems with anybody.
So why was I worried this time......
I believe my motherly instinct took over as I was not only anxious but also very on edge.
The next day it went out of my mind and I just put it down to me being me.
The Beginning of My Worst Nightmare......
Five days later I received a phone call from Charlotte (Robert's girlfriend) her words were: don't worry Maggie, but I have had a phone call from N..k to say that Robert has been attacked and has been taken to hospital in Crete. She said Robert's friends who were out there are with him and wonít leave him until his OK.
Can you imagine what I was thinking straight away I thought of the night he asked for my suit case and how my ringing bells as a mum told me something was going to happen?
It was a few hours later that Charlotte phoned me with some more news on Robert; it had come from one of his mates who were with him at the hospital in Crete. I told Charlotte to ring this friend back whose name was N... and ask her to get him to ring me straight back. And he did.
At that point he was saying you don't have to worry Maggie as Robert is sleeping .So I said wake him up. The reply from Roberts friend was I can't they wonít let us go back into the room as the nurses were putting up a drip at the moment .So N... the friend of Robert's said I will ring you back later Maggie when he is awake.
By now I was getting upset ,Worried ,Angry, Confused ,and getting also very suspicious that all was not right with my son's condition and the full details were being hidden from me. At this time I had no telephone number or any detail of the hospital in Crete or even where my son was etc.
Again I had to wait. Then the dreaded phone call came through. Itís me I heard from the other end-Charlotte. She was worried just like me but then she told me that Robertsís friends were saying that Roberts may need a Brain Scan as he won't wake up. These words are a parentís worse nightmare.
The First 48 Hour's
I started to get details of the flights to Greece and could not believe all the flights were fully booked, So I rang my eldest son David who lived in Nottingham to ask him for help and to see if he was able to get a flight as I was at a dead end. .
David did managed to get a flight, but it was a split journey and it took over 12 hours to get there.
When I arrived in Heraklion at the Crete airport in Greece we got a cab straight to the hospital where we believed Robert had been taken. However this hospital that Robert was in was not on a high street it was out in the country side and was very hard to get too especially if you had no transport.
My family members and I walked into the main entrants to find no one was manning the front desks .After banging on the glass loudly eventually a man appeared from a back room and we tried to explain why we were there at the hospital and gave him Robertsís name.
Unfortunately for us he could not understand what we were saying nor could we him. and we spent at least 15 minutes trying to explain but we got nowhere.
Eventually Charlotte worked out the weird signs on the walls and guest where Robert might be.
We went down a very long corridor then up to the 2nd floor B wing, on arriving on the second floor we went to their front desk and had to wait yet again because there was only one nurse dealing with so many patients.
My family and I were directed to room No 17 and Robert was at that time with one other patient who looked as if he had been in a very bad accident and was on a machine with lots of wires going in and out of him .
(I am afraid to say this poor man did not survive.)
"OH MY GOD"
Was what I said when I saw my son Robert lying in a bed with no blanket and no decent pillow and blood coming from his ears, with only his boxer shorts on and lying in a bed of urine and blood that had not even been washed off in 48 hours .
Robert's face looked like he had been hit by a wall and he was moving about as if he was in a lot of pain but he was not fully conscious and never open his eyes together only very briefly the good eye as we called it.
My son David and my husband Dave went off in different directions, one out on to the balcony and the other out in to the corridor of the hospital as they could not cope or deal with what they had seen.
Charlotte who was still shaking at this point I were now left alone to tidy and clean up Robert ,as when my family arrived he was still bleeding from his ears and head and his bedding had not been changed.
However before we did this I knew there something very important that I needed to do first .As there seem to be no concern about the fact that Robert had been a victim of very serious crime and had been attacked. And even more worrying there was no sign of any police presents at the hospital not even to do a crime report.
So I decided to do my own investigations and started to take photos and a commentary of Robertsís condition and injuries.
I knew from that moment onward I would have to gather all information and evidence on my sonís case alone.
A Mother's Breaking Point
Every day and night for three long months we stayed by his bedside as even to go to the toilet was too long to be away from Robert in case he passed away.
My family watched over him 24 hours day and night, washed, and changed him, made his bed, cleaned the blood from his body, we tried to feed him as he did not seem to be able to swallow or chew, nor could he wake up. Whatever had happened to him was as bad as it made him unable to open his eyes or unable to come out of the deep sleep that he was in.
After about 4 days there was a change in Robertsís condition. I can't explain exactly what I mean but this day was different. Robert body seamed go very still as if he was in a deeper sleep then he was before.
It was strange as earlier in the evening my eldest son David told me to go back to the apartment to have a rest as I was at breaking point.
So I did: but as soon as I Arrived back at the apartment my phone rang....
MUM: David said get back as fast as you can as there's a change in Robs condition and the Doctors were now moving him down stairs to the intensive care unit they said that he will need urgent treatment to save his life.
My first reactions was to scream, then cry, then panic as I was afraid that I would not get back in time to see my son Robert before he goes down for this brain operation .
When I got back he was on a life support machine, so many wires and so much noise and I could not believe what was happening to my lovely son, as all he did was to go abroad to Greece for a 10 day holiday with his 3 friends.
We did not have to wait long, As Rob was taken down to have a operation to remove a piece of his scull as this was the only way they could ease the pressure on his brain and to save his life.
The Doctors in the hospital don't always tell the relatives that they are going to operated or inform the relatives when a patent comes back to the ICU unit.
When a patient is on the ICU ward you as the family have to wait your turn in the corridors and go in one by one to a meeting room to hear from a doctor the updates or not of your relatives and love ones.
It was a great relief when I knew that Robbie had come through the operation and he was back on the ward in ICU.
That afternoon we sat down together as a family for lunch for the first time in a week.
No Hope Of Survival
That evening we all got into taxi's to go to the Hospital. My Husband Dave and my son Alan, David, Adam, my daughter Alaina, and my daughter in law Charlotte, Quinn Charlottes dad and myself, as we all wanted to visit Robert that evening in ICU.
When we arrived back at the hospital we all knew the process, of lining up and waited our turn in the corridor to go in to see Rob in the intensive care unit. One by one you were allowed in and a visitor or family member would only got 1 minute each person to see that patient.
On this evening it was Alan and Adam who went in first, But within 30 seconds of Alan going in to ICU to see Robert he came out shouting mum his not there, Roberts beds has gone.
I started to panic like everyone else, not one of us knew what was going on as we could not ask anyone there in the hospital as we did not speak the language and no one would let us in to see the doctors to tell us what was going on.
So was my son dead or alive at this point.Ö?
Eventually after we got through the guarded ICU doors a guard and a nurse took my family into a side room and said they were afraid that the swelling to Roberts brain was now at a life or death situation and they had no alternative but to re operate again to save his life.
This time the Doctorís were telling me and my family they would now have to remove half of his skull, as if they didn't this could leave Robert with no hope of survival or even brain dead.
He Live ....You Go Now!
Can you imagine what we were all going through? None of us was speaking only sobbing and in shock, as we did not even get a phone call from the hospital staff to say this was happening.
My family was told we would have to wait a very long time as Robert could be in the theatre for at least 8 hours or more so we were told by the Doctor to go back to the apartment and we will call you if anything happens.
I could not go anywhere nor could any member of my family, as we all agreed that if anything was going to happen to Robbie we will be there for him if it did.
We all waited in the corridor sitting on floor and chairs that we took from the meeting room ,as normally this would not be allowed security, but I believe they knew that this was a life or death situation and they left us alone by ourselves to the long wait ahead.
It sounds strange but we could not just sit there and say and do nothing, so some of us played Give us a Clue and Hang man etc as the wait was so stressful and long, and for a little while this did take our minds off the situation.
Well trust my son Alan as he was the joker in the family at the time, as somebody needed to break the ice. So Alan found a sheet and dress up like Michael Myers in the film Halloween .Not the best of subjects to copy at that time but it did break the ice (what a fool he was, but we did need this light relief at that timeÖ)
After about 8 hours or so one of the surgeons came out to see us, and said Robert has survived the second operation but it will still be a very long wait for you and your family as we need to see if the swelling on the brain will start to swell again, and if it did then this would mean the end to his life.
I said to my family members I wanted them all to go back to the apartment and get some rest, as I wanted to stay there on my own in the hospital until Robert was out of the woods or Not....,
However this was one request that fell on deft ears as they all stayed with me in that lonely corridor watching every second of that very slow clock.
This long wait started at around 6pm in the evening and went all through the night until 11am the next morning when a lady doctor aged around sixty years of age, came over to me as I was still sitting in the same place in the corridor and she said in broken English (He live. You go now).
I just stared at her: but I could see in her eyes she was telling me that Robert had a slim chance of survival and as far as I was concerned this was going to be the first day of hope and Robert's first day of to the road to recovery..................................
To be continued
Link to my original web site : http://www.pedd.org.uk/new/index.html
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