Victims of crime abroad join campaigner Maggie Hughes for House of Commons meeting

Croydon Guardian: Maggie and Robbie Hughes at 10 Downing Street Maggie and Robbie Hughes at 10 Downing Street

The mum of a former Croydon Athletic footballer - who was left brain damaged after being assaulted by a pack of thugs while on holiday - brought victims of crime abroad together in Westminster.

Wallington woman Maggie Hughes, who has campaigned for changes in international law after her son Robbie was attacked in 2008, got help from her local MP Tom Brake in organising a meeting for people who have been affected by crimes abroad at the House of Commons last week.

Croydon Guardian: Robbie Hughes in a coma after the attack in Malia, Crete last year

Robbie Hughes in hospital after the attack

She said so many people came to the meeting, held in one of the meeting rooms at the House of Commons, that it was standing room only.

Robbie Hughes, now 32, was on holiday with friends in the Greek resort of Malia when he was beaten up by a gang of English youths who were also on the island in 2008.

The attack outside the Candy Club left him in a coma for two weeks and he still has problems with his short term memory.

Mrs Hughes has been fighting to get justice for her son but has found dealing with a criminal case happening overseas difficult.

It took four years for Curtis Taylor, Daniel Bell, Joseph Bruckland and Sean Branton, all from Horley in Surrey, to be convicted but they have since appealed against their convictions with a hearing not scheduled until November.

Croydon Guardian: Joseph Bruckland (second from right) is one of six men accused of a brutal attack on semi-professional footballer Robbie Hughes while on holiday in Malia in June 2008.

Benjamin Herdman, left was cleared of any wrong doing but Taylor, Bell, Bruckland, and Banton were all found guilty.

Mrs Hughes and Mr Brake planned the meeting in order to give victims of crime abroad a chance to compare experiences and to speak to advisers from the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, police, the Association of British Travel Agents and Victims' Commissioner Baroness Newlove.

Mrs Hughes said: "It was really useful and informative.

"Dealing with things like this can be hard but if you give people the proper tools and information you can empower them to take on their own investigations and that's what this was all about.

"It's about networking and sharing information with other families and with the authorities so that we can make it easier for victims and their families."

Mr Brake added: "Although this issue affects a relatively small number every year, the effects of crime or injury abroad on the victims, and their families can be life shattering.

"This is why it was so important to hold this meeting.

"With so many victims of crimes and their families in one room, this was a very touching and emotional event, but I hope it was also a very constructive one.

"It was good to see all parties together, from the victims themselves, to the FCO, tour operators and the Victims’ Commissioner, coming together to discuss how support for victims could be improved."

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