The Sun: Bulgarian Impudent Gang Thrashed Scots Couple*

Views on BG | August 6, 2010, Friday // 16:56|  views

The team of the Bulgarian Justice Ministry – Minister, Margarita Popova (center-right), Deputies, Zhaneta Petrova (left), Daniela Masseva (center-left) and Hristo Angelov (right). Photo by Sofia News Agency

From The Sun


A retired Scots couple who were brutally attacked by machete-wielding thugs at their dream home in Bulgaria have been left penniless.

Alan and Sylvia Cantwell have been forced to live in a caravan back home in Dundee while their idyllic cottage in Bulgaria lies unsold.

Now the couple have been told their application for criminal compensation has been refused by the Bulgarian authorities on the grounds they WEREN'T injured.

And the couple are furious that they have been snubbed.

But a letter sent to the couple by Bulgarian Deputy Minister of Justice Hristo Angelov states: "There is no evidence of grievous bodily harm on Alan Cantwell.

"The National Council for Assistance and Compensation to victims of crime refuse to grant financial compensation."

Alan, 65, said: "I had my teeth knocked out and was beaten black and blue. My face was bloodied and swollen, I had two black eyes and terrible bruising on my legs and body. I thought I would die.

"To find out we're not entitled to anything beggars belief.

"The official letter even has the date wrong. They say the attack took place on March 18, 2009. We weren't even in Bulgaria then. It happened on August 7.

"But we don't even have the right to appeal."

The couple had bought a cottage in February 2009 - which didn't even have running water - in the village of Pleven for £3,000 and spent £25,000 modernising it.

Sylvia, 64, added: "That was our downfall - the gangs thought we were rich and wanted money. But we hadn't a penny."

The couple had remortgaged their home to fund their dream of retiring abroad and had settled in. But that changed one night last August, when they were woken by their dogs barking.

Alan got up but as Sylvia listened for his return, two masked men burst into the bedroom.

One began ransacking the room while the other pinned Sylvia to the bed.

She said: "He was swinging a pickaxe around and yelling for money. I handed over my Bulgarian bank card and my pin number, but that wasn't what they wanted.

"One man was sniggering into my face. I thought they had killed Alan and now it was my turn."

Suddenly, the men ran out and, in shock, Sylvia made her way to the front door. She said: "I opened the door and walked into a pool of blood.

"I thought it was Alan's, then I saw our dog Meg lying there dead, with her head virtually chopped off.

"When Alan appeared, he was covered in blood."

A notorious gang called The Impudent are thought to be behind the attack.

In January, radio presenter Borislav Tsankov, 30, was gunned down before he was due to reveal members' identities.

After they were attacked, Alan and Sylvia were taken to hospital and treated for their injuries. They then spent five days in a hotel helping police before fleeing Bulgaria in their campervan and driving back home.

They returned to Bulgaria once more to collect their car, but Sylvia said: "We won't be going back.

"I'm not the woman I was. I'm nervous and tearful.

"We can't get the house sold and I think we're going to have to walk away.

"We thought we'd be sitting in the sun enjoying our retirement.

"We could never have predicted all this."

*The title has been changed by

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Tags: Alan and Sylvia Cantwell, Scots couple, The Impudent, Bobi Tsankov, Bulgarian Deputy Minister of Justice Hristo Angelov


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