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CrimeMust ReadMexican paradise wedding turned into prison hell for this couple

Mexican paradise wedding turned into prison hell for this couple

A young bride has told how her dream wedding was nearly ruined when her husband-to-be was banged-up in a Mexican prison four days before their big day.

Kayleigh Lonsdale, 25, from Newcastle, was looking forward to her exotic wedding in tropical Mexico when her partner, Martin, 26, was forced into an altercation with two con-men on the beach.

The resulting fight brought armed police to their five-star resort who were quick to arrest Martin and his usher, Rhys Quinn, 23, and throw them both in jail.

Kayleigh Lonsdale, 24, from Newcastle, was looking forward to her exotic wedding in tropical Mexico

Kayleigh and Martin were looking forward to their exotic wedding in Mexico

Before the pair were released they were beaten, strip-searched and humiliated by police who took pictures of themselves laughing next to the men’s genitals.

When they complained that their human rights were being abused, the police said: ‘You’re in Mexico now. You have no human rights’.

Martin and Rhys were only released after 39 hours when their family had scraped together the £2,600 in cash for their freedom.

Astonishingly, the brazen con-men, who said they were from Chicago, but who Martin says had thick Mexican accents, were thrown out of different hotel the next day for pulling the same scam on another bewildered party.

Luckily, the two men were able to recover in time for the wedding, but bride Kayleigh says the horror of what they went through cast a cloud of what should have been a wonderful day.

“It was a calculated attack,” says Kayleigh, a hairdresser from Gateshead.

“It was a calculated attack,” says Kayleigh, a hairdresser from Gateshead.

“They saw a big group of British tourists and must have seen dollar signs.

“We just had no idea how corrupt Mexico could be.”

The couple had gone to Mexico with 30 of their closest friends and family to get married at the luxurious resort of the Riu Palace Riviera Maya in Playacar just south of Cancun.

But on their first day in the Caribbean paradise in September last year, Martin and Rhys were confronted by two men as they headed back from the ocean.

One of the men pushed Martin and told him back off before punching Rhys in the face in an unprovoked attack witnessed by hundreds of holiday-makers.

When Martin struck back in self-defence, hotel guests and staff, along with members of Martin’s family, came rushing over to break the men apart.

A few hours later they were called down to the front desk to explain the incident to the hotel manager.

“When we got to the hotel lobby there were two truckloads of policemen armed with machine guns waiting for us,” says Martin, a public services worker.

“They handcuffed me straight away and threw me in the back of a pick-up van.

“They even threatened to arrest my fiancée and my mother.

“The men that had attacked us were talking with the policemen and sniggering.”

Martin and Rhys were driven to a police station where they were strip searched and beaten, before being humiliated by both male and female plain-clothed officers.

"When I pleaded with them about my human rights they said I had none. 'This is Mexico' they said."

“When I pleaded with them about my human rights they said I had none. ‘This is Mexico’ they said.”

“They pushed us against the wall and made us bend over while they took pictures.

“Then two female officers came over and knelt down beside my genitals posing for a photograph.

“When I pleaded with them about my human rights they said I had none. ‘This is Mexico‘ they said.”

“They didn’t question us or formally charge us with anything – it was terrifying.”

Martin and Rhys were then bundled back in the police van and driven to an abandoned building in the middle of nowhere where they were handcuffed to chairs in the middle of a room.

A few hours later they were dragged through the building and thrown into a 12ft by 12ft cell with 15 other men, all sharing a hole in the ground for a toilet.

“It was the worst thing I’ve ever smelled,” says Martin.

“Eventually, after hours of hanging on, I had to use the toilet. It was so degrading.

“We didn’t eat or drink for the entire time either, so we were both so weak.”

Kayleigh, who had remained at the hotel while her mother had been working with the authorities to find out where the men were, feared she might not see her fiancée again.

“I was beside myself with worry,” says Kayleigh.

“I had no idea where they had taken them, or what was happening to them.

“Luckily, we were able to get hold of our rep who arranged for a solicitor to help negotiate the boys’ freedom.”

After 39 hours of being locked up in a cramped and filthy, rat-ridden cell, Martin and Rhys were released to their families.

But not before Kayleigh and her mother had to plead with their wedding guests to help them with the bail, which the police had set at £1,100 per man, plus £400 for the solicitor’s fee.

"Martin is a 6ft tall, rugby playing man's man, but he was as weak as a kitten after they released him.

Martin is a 6ft tall, rugby playing man’s man

According to Martin the police refused to give them a receipt for the money and told them if they weren’t able to raise the funds they would have been held prisoner for up to two months.

They were told by their solicitor that the money was for their ‘victims” injuries.

“When they got back to the hotel they looked terrible,” says Kayleigh.

“Martin is a 6ft tall, rugby playing man’s man, but he was as weak as a kitten after they released him.

“He was covered in bruises, and stank of human faeces.

“He was traumatised beyond belief and wanted to catch the next flight out of the country.

“He said we could get married when we got home, but we managed to convince him that he was safe.

“The wedding went ahead a couple of days later and was amazing.

“We couldn’t have wished for a more perfect day.

“But the shock of what happened hung over us like a dark cloud.

“It should conjure wonderful memories of the day we got married, but as soon as someone mentions Mexico, I get chills up my spine.”

"It should conjure wonderful memories of the day we got married, but as soon as someone mentions Mexico, I get chills up my spine."

Despite everything that had happened, their wedding day was amazing

“As soon as we were made aware of the incident our staff provided support to the customers and their families, and liaised with the British Consulate, Embassy and Mexican authorities.

“We have continued to offer guidance since their return to the UK.

“We would like to reassure customers that incidents of this nature are extremely rare.”

The couple, who have been together for six years have been through counselling since returning to the UK.

Martin has shown early signs of PTSD and is being treated by his GP.

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