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British dad facing extradition to Portugal nine years after causing death at Albufeira bar

dad extraditionA woman fears her fiancé will be killed in a Portuguese prison if he is extradited nine years after causing the death of a man outside a nightclub whilst on holiday.

Dad-of-two John Hodgson, from Kent, was on a trip to Albufeira in 2011 when he struck Ricardo Teixeira outside a late-night bar, causing him to fall down steps and hit his head.

Mr Teixeira, who was under the influence of drink and drugs, died a week later of a traumatic brain injury. Mr. Hodgson – who has always claimed he pushed his victim in self-defence – was charged with causing grievous bodily harm.

The 29-year-old, who has never been back to Portugal, was convicted at a trial he did not attend in 2016 and sentenced to seven years in prison. Now he faces extradition to serve his jail time after he was pulled from his house in a morning raid by officers from the National Crime Agency, who were executing a European Arrest Warrant.

His fiancée, Sian Lovegrove, said: “They had balaclavas on and were shouting ‘police, police’ and banging on the door. They then cuffed him straight away. It really scared my daughter – she was screaming and saying ‘they’re taking my daddy’. They took him in his pyjama bottoms, put a t-shirt over him and chucked him in the back of the van. It was really scary. There were people everywhere.”

Portuguese media reported that Hodgson struck Mr Teixeira, causing him to fall backwards and sustain serious head injuries at “Matt’s Bar” on July 7th, 2011. The Crown Prosecution Service told journalists this week that Hodgson “suddenly and without notice” went towards the exit of the nightclub and “hit a heavy nudge/punch with the forearm on the front/side of victim Ricardo Teixeira’s head”.

Mr. Teixera fell into a coma and later had his life-support machine switched off; while Mr. Hodgson returned home four days after the incident. He maintains that he was attempting to push away a group of people, including Mr Teixeira, after one of them flashed a blade in his direction as he attempted to leave the nightspot. The incident was caught on the bar’s CCTV cameras.

Hodgson decided not to appear at the trial, but had been notified proceedings were due to begin. As well as a jail sentence, he was also instructed to pay about €138,000 to Mr Teixeira’s family in compensation.

He is currently on remand at High Down prison in Sutton, where he has been held since the raid at his home on November 28th of last year.

He faces extradition at a hearing due to take place at Westminster Magistrates’ Court on Wednesday. However, his family fear it could be the last time they see him if the judge decides to send him back to Portugal to serve his sentence.

“Hopefully he can do his time in the UK because of the family life he has got and because of his mental health issues,” Ms Lovegrove, 30, stated. “The prison conditions over there are terrible and it wouldn’t be safe for him: they’ve branded him an English assassin. I know if he goes there, he’s not going to come back. They’ll kill him out there.”

Ms Lovegrove claims that while he says he acted in self-defence, the incident has had a lasting effect on Hodgson. “He’s very remorseful; he’s been punishing himself every day for nine years,” Ms Lovegrove added.

“He just wants to stay in the UK. I don’t think he deserves to go to Portugal for seven years and he can’t leave prison until the €138,000 has been paid. How on earth is he ever going to come home?”

Hodgson’s parents, Peter and Kay, say they were forced to move out of their Whitstable home following a demonstration by supporters of Mr Teixeira in Portugal in 2013, in which their Algarve address was publicised. Hodgson’s GP has also written ahead of the case stating that she believes extraditing him would severely exacerbate his mental health issues.

Ms Lovegrove, whose two children – aged five and seven – have been adopted by Hodgson, says his solicitors will push for the hearing to be adjourned. A spokesman for the National Crime Agency said officers executed a warrant on behalf of the Portuguese authorities, additionally, a judge is likely to make a ruling at a later date after hearing the evidence at Wednesday’s extradition hearing.