DCSIMG

Leeds dad relives trauma of his Greek jail ordeal

DAD'S BACK: Fran Prenga at home with wife Louise and daughter Maria. PIC: Bruce Rollinson

DAD'S BACK: Fran Prenga at home with wife Louise and daughter Maria. PIC: Bruce Rollinson

  • by Laura Bowyer
 

A Leeds man who was thrown into a Greek jail while on a family holiday has spoken of his trauma at spending months behind bars.

Fran Prenga, 34, from Otley, spent five months in prison after he was arrested in relation to 72 counts of armed robbery and one count of possessing a weapon without a licence in Athens, between 2004 and 2005.

He was tried and found guilty in his absence of possession of an unlicensed weapon.

Fran, who was cleared of all charges last month, has always protested his innocence.

And instead of celebrating his daughter Maria’s first birthday Fran was forced to share a prison cell with over 40 people.

He was locked up alongside murderers and says he spent days without drinking water.

Fran was also made to sleep on a concrete floor.

Speaking exclusively to the YEP Fran said: “I was shocked when they told me what was happening.

“I cannot describe anything worse than that.

“I knew I was innocent but in a country like Greece it doesn’t matter whether you are innocent or not.

“When they put me on the transfer bus to the prison it was absolutely filthy.

“There were 45 people in a cell and it wasn’t easy.

“There were people who had killed people there and it was frightening.”

During his traumatic ordeal Fran’s wife Louise campaigned to have her husband released.

But even when they were told he could come back home to Otley Louise contacted the British Embassy to make sure he had boarded the plane.

She is set to launch a legal battle and sue the authorities for Fran’s treatment.

Louise said: “We have gone through five months of hell.

“When you have had something taken away from you for so long it makes you appreciate it all the more.

“It’s not about the money. It’s about Fran’s life and the fact he will never get Maria’s first birthday back.

“Someone should pay for it.”

Fran, back home in Otley, thanked members of the public for their support.

He added: “Thank you so much for believing in me.

“For me it’s just top of the world. I’m still shocked. It was a really difficult time.

“It has made me stronger and I want to spend more time with family and friends.”

 

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