Mum's warning to holidaymakers

A SUFFOLK mother whose son was seriously injured in Portugal when he was struck by a car today issued a safety warning to holidaymakers. Maz Pickett's 25-year-old son Jake Bennett was left fighting for his life in a Faro hospital after the accident in July, which left him with several broken bones.

A SUFFOLK mother whose son was seriously injured in Portugal when he was struck by a car today issued a safety warning to holidaymakers.

Maz Pickett's 25-year-old son Jake Bennett was left fighting for his life in a Faro hospital after the accident in July, which left him with several broken bones.

Although now back in England, Mr Bennett remains in Ipswich hospital recovering from his ordeal.

Ms Pickett, landlady of the Cooper's Dip public house in Saxmundham, issued the warning after a distraught husband told of how his wife was killed when a car knocked her 30 metres into the air. Tom Munro's wife Rachel, 42, was killed on September 3 in Faro as she crossed the road to go to a restaurant.


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Speaking earlier this month, Mr Munro, 67, said he insisted on giving a statement to police after the accident, but was advised by a lawyer that any prosecution was unlikely.

Ms Pickett claimed many Portuguese drivers use the country's roads without insurance, as the authorities turn a blind eye.

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She said: “All the police seem to care about is protecting their own.

“Portugal is very different to England, it's not a nanny state. When we went to speak to the police to find out what was going on, they didn't want to know.

“Some of the driving is quite manic.”

Her son's misery was compounded by the fact he had no travel insurance and was left stranded in Portugal until his family raised the £10,000 required to get him airlifted home.

Ms Pickett said her son was continuing on the slow road to recovery and that the family was hopeful he would be able to return home soon.

She added: “The roads can be dangerous, especially if you are not wearing some sort of reflective gear. People should take care if they go to countries like Portugal.”

A spokesman for the Foreign and Commonwealth Office said he believed accidents “tied in” with the high season.

He said: “Over the past two months we have seen an increase in road accidents with British nationals going to Portugal.

“I think it's because of the summer season.

“Their driving regulations and customs in Portugal are different and the accident rate is higher.”

n. What do you think? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or email eveningstarlettters@eveningstar.co.uk

PANEL

Number of road traffic accidents involving British nationals, that the Foreign and Commonwealth Office has been told about, from April 2005 to 20 September 2005.

Portugal - 5

France - 18

Greece - 34

Spain - 26

Italy - 8

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