Brit family hounded out of Portugal told their situation 'wasn't desperate enough' for help after returning to UK

16 April 2024, 01:47 | Updated: 16 April 2024, 02:00

The family moved from Bedfordshire to Portugal in 2016
The family - who featured in Channel 4 show Our Wildest Dreams - moved from Bedfordshire to Portugal in 2016. Picture: Channel 4

By Emma Soteriou

A British family that fled Portugal after locals allegedly killed their pets and sent them death threats were told their situation "wasn't desperate enough" for help after returning to the UK.

Listen to this article

Loading audio...

Lynn and Richard Appleby-Brisco from Biggleswade, Bedfordshire, moved with their two young daughters to Portugal in 2016.

However, the family's move to a small village in the Guarda district soon became a nightmare when a group of local villagers started a campaign of hate against them in a "storm of resentment".

The family - which featured on Channel 4's Our Wildest Dreams - said their dog Cu died after being attacked. They also said their goats were poisoned and a local admitted stealing their cat Ponyo and kitten Bubbles.

Ms Appleby-Brisco, 51, said when she confronted a villager about the deaths, she was told: "We've taken your pets and you're next."

Read more: Sunak wants to deport migrants to Armenia, Costa Rica and Botswana in a bid to replicate Rwanda scheme

Read more: 'They would be begging us to come back': Brits vow to ‘boycott Spain’ over new £97 daily rule

Lynn said "Portugal has taken everything we had".
Lynn said "Portugal has taken everything we had". Picture: GoFundMe

“I just couldn’t take it anymore, and it was my absolute lowest point," Ms Appleby-Brisco told the Sun.

“I was scared to be in the house on my own so I would hang around the biggest local town all day to feel safe.

“It was so bad that when I would go down to the farm I would carry a knife with me, and I consider myself a pacifist.”

She added she had a breakdown and tried to take her own life.

Some of the harassment from locals involved being spat at, being called “English pigs” as well as rumours being spread that Ms Appleby-Brisco was a devil-worshipping prostitute.

The family decided “enough was enough” and returned to the UK in February.

Ms Appleby-Brisco and her children Emily, 12, and Yvie, 10, are currently living in a "little holiday chalet".

Her close friend, Denny Lewis, told MailOnline: "She landed at Heathrow with her two young girls and had to get the night bus to Bedford and went to a local Premier Inn.

Lynn Appleby-Brisco said the family experienced threats of violence and damage to their property
Lynn Appleby-Brisco said the family experienced threats of violence and damage to their property. Picture: Facebook

"I went to see her and we got her some clothes sent down by a friend and by other people. But the local housing authorities said, and I quote, that their situation 'wasn't bad enough'.

"She wasn't in a desperate state enough to be helped apparently, so she started to go to food banks and we have now started a GoFundMe page.

"Lynn had no money, nowhere to live and she would have been on the streets. The local government would have left her on the streets with two young girls and they still won't help her now."

She continued: "She had paid her taxes for 30 years before she went to Portugal. She was literally on the streets and with very little money.

"So as they wouldn't help her, a friend and me found her a little place in Kempston. It is like a little holiday chalet.

"So she and the girls moved into there, but she couldn't get any government help."

Ms Appleby-Brisco is now understood to have got a job as a chef in a pub.

Meanwhile, Mr Appleby-Brisco stayed in Portugal to sell their property before driving back on his own with some of their possessions.

“We couldn’t make it work, no matter how hard we tried," Ms Appleby-Brisco previously said.

“The worst part in this is that I am so happy to be back in England even though we have literally lost every penny we spent our lives working for but I am constantly afraid to let my guard down.

“You need time away from England to realise just how lucky we are."

More Latest News

See more More Latest News

Diane Abbott has said she has been blocked from standing as an MP at the election

Diane Abbott barred by Labour from standing for the party at the general election

People queue to cast their votes at a polling station during general elections, in Cape Town, South Africa

South Africans vote in election seen as country’s most important in 30 years

General Election LIVE: Rishi Sunak vows boost to apprenticeships, Labour targets NHS backlog as campaigns ramp up

General Election LIVE: Rishi Sunak vows boost to apprenticeships, Labour targets NHS backlog as campaigns ramp up

Royal Mail owners have agreed to £3.57bn takeover offer from Czech billionaire Daniel Kretinsky.

Royal Mail owners agree to £3.5bn takeover offer from Czech billionaire Daniel Kretinsky

Tributes have been paid to watch seller Oliver White who was found dead after a raid

Watch dealer took his own life due to ‘distress’ of £2.8m raid at west London store, say devastated family

Police have arrested 40 people following the demonstration on Tuesday.

Three officers injured and 40 people arrested after police clash with pro-Palestine protesters in Westminster

Thailand Thaksin

Former Thai prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra indicted for royal defamation

APTOPIX Papua New Guinea Landslide

Mass evacuations in Papua New Guinea amid fears of further landslides

APTOPIX Israel Palestinians

Algeria proposes UN resolution demanding Israel halt offensive in Rafah

Venezuela Election

Venezuela revoke EU invitation to observe nation’s presidential election in July

Rishi Sunak

Sunak pledges to create 100,000 more apprenticeships every year by shutting down “rip-off” university degrees

Garry Conille

Transitional council in Haiti selects new PM for country under siege by gangs

Keir Starmer has pledged to cut NHS waiting lists

‘Cutting NHS waiting lists is our priority’: Starmer unveils ‘first steps’ for Government if elected into Downing Street

Former US pesident Donald Trump sits with lawyers while he attends his trial at Manhattan Criminal Court in New York City

Trump trial: Prosecutor focuses on ‘cover-up’ while defence attacks key witness

Iain Dale is stepping down from LBC

Iain Dale to step down from LBC to put himself forward to be selected as a candidate for MP in the General Election

Amie Gray was stabbed to death on Friday night

Man, 20, from south London, arrested after personal trainer stabbed to death on Bournemouth beach