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Footie ace fights for life as police let thugs fly home

PUBLISHED: 11:52 26 June 2008 | UPDATED: 10:19 12 August 2010

Victim: Rob Hughes

Victim: Rob Hughes

THIS is the shocking picture of a talented footballer left lying in a coma after a brutal attack in Greece while the five yobs who assaulted him were allowed to fly back to Britain unpunished. Rob Hughes, 27, was outside a nightclub in Malia, Crete on J

THIS is the shocking picture of a talented footballer left lying in a coma after a brutal attack in Greece while the five yobs who assaulted him were allowed to fly back to Britain unpunished.

Rob Hughes, 27, was outside a nightclub in Malia, Crete on June 17 when he was jumped on by five men who kicked him to the ground and stamped on his head before holding him down and bottling him.

He suffered several fractures to the head and underwent life threatening surgery on Tuesday to remove parts of his skull in an attempt to ease the pressure on his swollen bleeding brain.

His family are outraged that five men from Surrey and Sussex who were arrested by Greek authorities were allowed to fly home without charge because of a loophole in the law.

In Greek law, if a person is arrested, either at the time he or she commits a crime or no longer than 24 hours later, the courts must immediately press charges and bring the person to trial on the same or the next day. This is the so-called "fragrante delicto" procedure.

His girlfriend of 11 years, Charlotte Kent, 25, said: "We're all in a state of shock, we feel lost. The thought that the people who did this to him could just walk away without punishment is just unthinkable."

Mr Hughes, who was about to be signed by Bromley Football Club was on holiday with friends and had only been at the popular beach resort for two days when the unprovoked attack took place.

His friends did not report the incident within the 48 hours stipulated by Greek law because they were sat in shock in a bedside vigil. Mr Hughes' parents, Margaret and David, flew to Crete early last Thursday joined by three of his brothers and one sister.

They tried to report the attack to Greek police, but were told they were five hours too late and that the perpetrators had left the island.

Miss Kent, a nurse, said: "We're all very confused, we keep being told different things.

"It's horrible, all of us are stressed and obviously very upset for Rob.

"We're going to be here for a long time. I am not leaving Crete until he comes with me. He doesn't have any bruises on his hands or anything where he's tried to fight back. The only bruising on his body is his arms where he was held down."

Friend and manager of Bromley Football Club, Mark Goldberg, said: "Rob is the most gentle and sincere person you could meet. He is a very talented footballer and a great coach.

"It's not in his nature to get drunk and fight at all. I can't believe anyone would want to attack him. These men might have come back to England and not even told anyone about the fight."

The Hughes family visited a lawyer in Crete last Tuesday and were told that they had to wait until the official police report to find out whether criminal investigations had begun.

They were advised that under EU law, Mr Hughes' attackers could be extradited to Greece to face trial. Mr Hughes remained in a coma on Tuesday following surgery in the morning. His family were told that the next 48 hours would be crucial.

A spokesman from the British Foreign and Commonwealth Office, said: "A British National was seriously injured in an incident in Malia, Crete on 17 June 2008. The local police are investigating.

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