Do not pass go
It was a stag-do, mates celebrating the passage of one of their number to marital bliss. We were having a good time in a bar in a Spanish village until someone pushed me on his way to the exit.
I went outside to remonstrate with him, one thing led to another, and I lamped him one. He went down twitching like a cow in a slaughterhouse.
“We’ll call it quits and just forget it now, shall we?” I said.
He nodded agreement, which was wise, as his nose was fountaining blood, and he didn’t look in any condition to fight on.
I turned to go, but I couldn’t, because a Spanish copper was blocking my way. He was a big fucker, built like the Rock of Gibraltar.
He stuck his hand on my chest.
“Where are you going?” He asked.
I tried to slip past him but he was too quick for me. He grabbed my arm and frogmarched me to a waiting car where his grinning partner was smoking a cigarette.
He cuffed me with my arms behind my back, threw me onto the back seat, and got in the passenger side at the front. His partner threw the cigarette out the window and started the car.
I thought they were taking me to the local Nick, but they had other plans.
They took me on a drive up a mountain. The road we were on twisted so much that by the time the car stopped I hadn’t a clue where I was.
But I knew it wasn’t a Nick.
It was a patch of scrub at the side of a deserted road.
One of them grabbed me and pulled me from the car.
He went through my pockets, took my wallet, and removed all my cash – about two hundred Euros. That’s a lot of wedge.
“Hey,” I said, “what are you doing? That’s my money.”
He grinned and gave half to his partner. They both pocketed it.
“Give me your passport,” he said.
“I don’t have it.”
“Where is it?”
I got the feeling that giving them my passport would be the worst thing I could do, as I’d have problems leaving the country, so I shook my head.
He drew out his baton and clubbed me on the shoulder. God, that was painful. It might’ve been the blow which broke my collarbone.
I shook my head again, and he clubbed me again, this time on the legs. It hurt so much I fell to the floor, and that’s when they both started beating on me.
I cried out for help but there was no-one around to hear me, and anyway, who was going to intervene when what passed for the law in that part of Spain was meting out summary justice?
The beating seemed to go on forever. They bludgeoned me on my back, head, arms, and legs.
By the time they’d finished, I was one big bruise.
Eventually they decided I’d had enough, put their batons away, took the cuffs off me, got in their car, and drove away..
I just lay on the ground groaning, semi-conscious at best.
In the fading light of the setting sun I got to my feet and staggered like Bambi on ice. I hadn’t had much to drink but was as unstable as a barfly at the end of a serious bender. That’s how dazed I was. Concussed, probably.
I didn’t know where I was or what I should do.
Somehow I worked out that if I followed the road back down the mountain, I’d probably end up at the village I’d been in, or somewhere near it, so I set off.
From higher up the mountain I heard a noise which cheered me up a bit.
It was a car.
I could flag it down and get myself a lift back to civilisation. I stuck out my thumb. Couldn’t see the car because it was round a blind corner, but I could hear it.
When it came into view I realised it was a police car. Thank God, the police could help me.
Except, it wasn’t just any police car, it was the police car being driven by the two thugs who’d just beaten me to a pulp.
I put my thumb down and looked for a way out of there, but of course there was none. Just the mountain road going up one side of me and down the other side of me.
The car pulled up and the two bent coppers climbed out of it. They cuffed me, shoved me to the ground, took out their batons and gave me a pasting at least as bad as the one they’d already dished out.
When they’d done beating on me they threw me in their car and headed on down the mountain. Every bump we went over and every breath I took hurt like hell.
“Passport!” One of them said.
I ignored him.
They pulled up outside a hospital. I guessed they might have been worried they’d done too good a job on me and needed to get me patched up a little.
The medics couldn’t believe it when they saw me. They took some photos. The bruising on the pictures they got was horrific. A doctor told me I could use them as evidence to sue the police. He must’ve been naïve.
Apart from the bruises, I was lucky. I had concussion, a broken collarbone, and a couple of busted ribs. It could’ve been a lot worse.
The coppers made sure that after I’d been treated, I was cuffed to my hospital bed with a hood on which covered my face so I couldn't see. Just to taunt me, they took off the hood and shaved my head before putting the hood back on.
After an overnighter in the hospital I was discharged back into the care of my captors. They bundled me into the back of their car and took me to their Nick at long last. Told me to sign some forms which were in Spanish, which I didn’t understand, and there was no interpreter present to explain them to me..
When I refused, one of them raised his baton threateningly, so I quickly put my signature to it.
I couldn’t be sure, but I guessed what I signed might be a confession to numerous offences including assaulting police officers and resisting arrest.
They took away my shoes and threw me in a dirty, insect-ridden cell.
It had a wooden bench set in the wall. I was scared shitless, but grateful for the chance to lie down without being beaten or having my head shaved.
When I’d been lying there for some time, they grabbed me, hauled me to their car, and drove me to another Nick in another town.
At first I didn’t know what was going on – then I worked it out: they wanted to make sure my mates wouldn’t know where I was, and wouldn’t be able to help me.
During the course of the next couple of days, they took me to five different Nicks. I had no visitors and wasn’t given any chance to speak to a lawyer.
Whenever I asked to go to the toilet they gave me a bucket, watched me, and laughed.
Occasionally they’d wave my own money in front of me.
On day three I was told to get myself looking smart as I was going to court. That was a big ask since my clothes were bloodied and torn and I had no shoes.
They took me to court in that state, and at last – at the very last minute, in fact, in front of the Judge – I was given access to an English-speaking lawyer.
She read out my charge sheet, which, as I expected, stated that I had seriously assaulted two police officers in the course of carrying out their legitimate duties; and that I’d resisted arrest. It seemed I’d also damaged some property and stolen goods from a small shop.
“I’m not guilty,” I said. “I didn’t do any of this.”
“Sshh,” she said, nodding towards the other side of the courtroom, “keep your voice down. They’re over there. They can hear you.”
Sure enough, the coppers were nearby, eavesdropping on us.
“I’m innocent. Why should I be bothered?”
“Because if you say you’re innocent, you'll make them mad. And there will be a trial. You’ll be put back in police custody until the trial and there’s no telling what they’ll do to you.”
I lowered my voice.
“Can’t we go somewhere private to talk?”
“No, this is the best we can do.”
“So what’re you saying? That I can’t plead that I’m innocent?”
“That’s precisely what I’m saying. You have to plead guilty. If you do, I might be able to get you off with a fine and you’ll be able to walk out of here. If you plead innocence you’ll be locked up for at least a month pending your trial, and anything could happen in that month. You might not be in any condition to attend your trial at the end of it. I know; I’ve seen it happen.”
I pleaded guilty. The two bent coppers were grinning like hyenas when I did.
My lawyer did a great job of telling the judge I ought to be allowed to walk free with just a fine. At least, I think she did.
Trouble was, she miscalculated.
I got a custodial sentence.
That’s right, I got locked up – by the same two grinning coppers who’d worked me over.
That Spanish lawyer I mentioned let me have a pen and a piece of paper; which I managed to smuggle into my cell. That’s how I’m writing this account of the injustice I’ve had to endure.
I can hear them coming.
These might be my last words.
Whoever you are, if you get this message, my name is Jason Cross and I’m from Huddersfield, in England. Please get word out to my mum and dad, or anyone else who might be able to help me..
Before it’s too late.
Photo by Pixabay