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Family rally to back other attack victims hurt abroad

PUBLISHED: 11:53 25 September 2008 | UPDATED: 10:22 12 August 2010

BACK HOME: Rob Hughes with his mum Maggie.

BACK HOME: Rob Hughes with his mum Maggie.

FAMILY and friends of a footballer viciously attacked on holiday are launching a campaign to help other victims of violence abroad.

FAMILY and friends of a footballer viciously attacked on holiday are launching a campaign to help other victims of violence abroad.

Talented footie ace Rob Hughes was flown back to England last week after spending three months in intensive care in Crete.

Mr Hughes, who was about to be signed to Bromley Football Club before the assault, was bottled and had his head stamped on by five thugs while on holiday in Malia in June.

Greek medics labelled him the miracle man after he underwent four life threatening operations to ease the pressure on his swollen brain which suffered hundreds of bleeds as a result of the attack.

Last Sunday, Bromley Football Club held a benefit match for Mr Hughes, raising £14,000 and his family and friends launched their Please Enjoy Don't Destroy campaign to stop violence abroad and support victims left critically ill in hospital.

Mr Hughes, 28, said: "I really enjoyed Sunday. I saw a lot of friends and people I haven't seen for ages. I can't wait to get back on the pitch but I think it will be a few months yet.

"It felt weird being in Greece for so long. I was in a bad way. I just wanted to get back to England where I could feel some kind of normality and be with my family. I love them so much."

Mr Hughes' mother, Maggie Hughes, said: "We want to help other families who feel lost abroad. You just don't know where to start when you're out there.

"We met a few families at the hospital who came to us for help and we took strength from that. When you've got someone in hospital that you love you should be able to concentrate on them and not on admin."

The yobs that attacked Mr Hughes have not been arrested and were allowed to fly home from Greece because of a loophole in the law.

Mrs Hughes is determined to get justice for her son but she slammed red tape in both countries and said every day is a 'battle'.

She said: "I want to know why not a single Greek or British police officer has been to see me or Robbie. I have written letters to Gordon Brown and to David Cameron but they haven't replied. I've phoned the Greek police and the British Embassy in Greece. It's a constant battle."

One positive step forward is that Tom Brake, MP for Sutton where the Hughes family live, responded to her letter and has a 'pencilled' in appointment with the Greek ambassador in London.

Mr Hughes' case is now in a queue waiting to be seen by the Greek prosecutor.

In a television interview, the mayor of Malia promised the men would be brought back to Greece for trial.

l For more information about the campaign, see the 'Robert Hughes (support him and his family)' group on www.facebook.com.

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