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Paella punch up
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A BRITISH couple were thrown into a Spanish jail over a mix-up involving a €15 paella they never ordered.
Geoff Cox and his partner Bridget Keyes, from Surrey, had been enjoying a relaxing cycling holiday from Cordoba to Granada when they stopped off at the restaurant for a meal.
When the bill arrived, the couple noticed they had been charged for an extra paella and complained to the waiter.
But he insisted they were wrong and the argument quickly escalated into pushing and shoving.
“We pointed out the extra paella and the waiter went off like a firecracker,” said retired hosiery salesman Mr Cox, who is in his 50s.
“We put down €105 and said we would pay that, but he wanted €120.
“It got a bit ugly and when he said he would call the police we said, ‘Right, fine’, because we were certain they would side with us.”
But when officers arrived, the pair found themselves in the middle of a scuffle which saw Mr Cox’s glasses broken and both Brits arrested.
To make matters worse, the police later claimed that the couple had assaulted them and demanded compensation.
The pair were fingerprinted, had their shoelaces confiscated and were even left in separate cells for the night without anything to eat or drink.
Mr Cox said: “Two lawyers and a translator turned up 12 hours later – we had had no information, no food and no water.
“I was told I was charged with assault on the police, resisting arrest and defrauding a restaurant, that these were criminal charges and I could get a year in jail.”
After another agonising seven hours the couple were told the criminal charges were dropped but the damages claim remained, so they should return to court two days later.
“That messed up our holiday plans as we were off to Sevilla,” Mr Cox continued. “We came back to Granada at a cost of €200 to have our day in court.
“We still didn’t know what was happening. The prosecution demanded fines of €360 each, plus €260 damages to the police.
“In the end we were fined €78 and €250 damages for me throwing my face against his fist.
With the cost of legal fees added on, the pair has been left severely out of pocket and seriously shaken from the whole experience.
“I’m an ordinary, middle class, respectable citizen who has never had any trouble with the police,” Mr Cox added.
“It’s a bloody outrage and we must still make sure our fine gets paid to the right place.
“If it gets lost in the system we could find ourselves facing a European extradition warrant, so I’m still worried about it.”
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