By Sonia

My son went to Magaluf on the 22nd August 2018 with 6 friends all aged 16 & 17 to celebrate his and a few other boys upcoming 18th birthdays.

On the 23rd August I was studying at college and my phone started to ring. As soon as I saw my sons name I felt sick as I knew something must have been wrong. I grabbed my phone and ran out of the class to answer it. My son said that he had been arrested the previous night and when I asked him why he said a shop worker had accused him of stealing glasses. 

I asked him where he was and he said he was at court. 

He then said that they needed 2,000 euros to give the court as 2 other friends had also been arrested. I transferred some money into his friends account and then my son texted to say they had the money and everything was okay.

I went back into my classroom. About 30 minutes later i received a text that said "We got 3 months, no bail". When I tried to call back his phone it went straight to voicemail.

Not one person in authority had contacted me to let me know about his arrest, what had happened or where he was. 

I frantically googled Magaluf police, courts and British Embassy calling any number I could to try and find out what happened but everyone I got through to could not understand me.

Finally someone must have understood my sons name and transferred me. A man came on the phone and told me he was my sons social worker. 

I asked for the address but he did not understand much English. I managed to speak to my son but he did not know where he was. He said that the legal aid solicitor had put in an appeal but it could take up to 2 weeks. 

He explained that his friends and him were on their way to a foam party and one of his friends had gone into the shop, trying on glasses. My son and another boy were stood outside the shop.

He said he turned around and saw his friend on the floor being punched and kicked by 3 men and that he had run into the shop to try and pull them off him.

My son told me the shop worker had accused all 3 boys of stealing from him when the civil guard arrived. I told my son that I was coming out to Spain to find him and to stay strong.

Someone from the British Consulate called me on the Friday around 4pm (around 40 hours after his arrest). They confirmed it could take up to 2 weeks for an appeal and gave me the number of the 2 other boys families. I called and spoke with them but they knew next to nothing like me.

I booked a flight to Palma, on arrival I received a text from one of the other families with the address of where the boys were being held.

I called the number and managed to get an appointment to see my son.

The other families had also flown out so we kept each other updated if we heard anything.

On the 28th August I received a call from the British Consulate to say that the court case was the following day, that they had spoken with the judge and the prosecution and that they were on the boys side. I was told that if the boys agreed to plead guilty, they would be free to leave Spain and each parent would have to pay compensation of around 1250 euros to the shop worker.

I was also told that if he pleaded not guilty he would be sent back to the detention centre to await trial which could take up to 12 month. We were told to bring the 1250 euros in cash. 

The next day all 3 boys were in court together, there was a translator present but it turned out she was unable to speak English. Lucky for us the lady from the British Consulate was present and tried to translate parts of what was going on. 

At the end of the trial we were informed by the lawyers that the judge had said that each parent had to pay 4000 euros each within 24 hours. We were all shocked as had been told the same thing regarding the 1250 euros. The boys were free to go as long as we signed the documentation.

We waited for around 2 hours for the paperwork and when it arrived it was all in Spanish.

We were told we had to sign it and that if we wanted an English copy we could email the courts at a later date. 

The papers I was given to sign had another boys name on the front but I just did what I was told as my priority was to get my son out of the country asap. 

I have since emailed the courts for a copy of the paperwork I was made to sign and an English translation and have had no response to date. 

I would never have coped without the support of the other families who were going through the same experience as I was.