Monday, May 27, 2024

Inside TV family’s ‘dream’ Portugal home they were forced to abandon renovating when villagers made their lives a misery by ‘killing their dog before threatening: “You’re next”‘

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This is the dream Portuguese house a British family has been forced to abandon mid-way through renovating – after locals branded them ‘English pigs’ and allegedly killed their dog before threatening to come after them.

Pictures show the partially refurbished home in the Guarda municipality of the country – with bags of packed-up belongings littered across the house as the family plotted their escape amid racist abuse from locals.

Lynn and Richard Appleby-Brisco escaped to Portugal in 2016 with plans to start a more ‘affordable’ life with their two young daughters, appearing on Channel 4‘s Our Wildest Dreams sharing the story of their new beginning.

But since then the family has faced a ‘storm of resentment’ from locals, who are said to have killed their cats and later attacked their dog, which died of its injuries.

They have since returned to the UK – which is presenting a fresh set of challenges; the heartbreaking images, shared online, show the dream home they had hoped to restore, only to be forced to leave it behind. 

Has your dream move abroad gone wrong? Email: jon.brady@mailonline.co.uk  

The entrance to the Appleby-Brisco’s Portuguese home – which they have been forced to abandon after a ‘storm of resentment’ from locals

Bags and boxes are stacked on top of a mattress inside one of the rooms - but the family says Portugal has now 'taken everything we had'

Bags and boxes are stacked on top of a mattress inside one of the rooms – but the family says Portugal has now ‘taken everything we had’

The living room, still undergoing renovation, with a sofa, TV and some basic furniture

The living room, still undergoing renovation, with a sofa, TV and some basic furniture

A teddy bear sits on the settee in the living room in the dwelling - which the family has been driven out of over alleged resentment from locals

A teddy bear sits on the settee in the living room in the dwelling – which the family has been driven out of over alleged resentment from locals

Furniture and mugs sit on top of a table in the farmhouse - with a child's play oven underneath

Furniture and mugs sit on top of a table in the farmhouse – with a child’s play oven underneath

The farmhouse, which the family is hoping to sell as they relocate to the UK so they can start life again

The farmhouse, which the family is hoping to sell as they relocate to the UK so they can start life again

The Appleby-Briscos' move to the remote village was filmed for Channel 4's Our Wildest Dreams. They are pictured on the show in 2018 here

The Appleby-Briscos’ move to the remote village was filmed for Channel 4’s Our Wildest Dreams. They are pictured on the show in 2018 here

The images, circulated by Mrs Appleby-Brisco in a bid to sell the house, show the living room and several bedrooms – with still-wrapped mattresses and furniture lining the walls.

Carrier bags full of personal possessions are stacked on top of a mattress which is still inside its plastic packaging.

The living room has a TV on the floor, and opposite it a sofa and rug – with a teddy bear sat in the corner of the plush settee.

Elsewhere, drawers and coffee cups sit on top of a table in another room, surrounded by bags and boxes of hurriedly gathered belongings – including a child’s play oven.

A video also showed a converted attic, accessed via a ladder, with a large unused space that the family was never able to fill – and access to a balcony space.

The Appleby-Briscos have returned to the UK after being chased out of Portugal – but their problems have not ended after touching back down on home soil. 

A close friend of the family has told MailOnline authorities did not deem the family’s situation ‘desperate enough’ for them to be deserving of help after they touched down in Britain.

Denny Lewis, who has launched a fundraiser to help her friends, said: ‘She (Lynn) landed at Heathrow with her two young girls and had to get the night bus to Bedford and went to a local Premier Inn.

‘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’.’

Ms Lewis added: ‘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 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.

‘But Lynn is not a shirker, so the minute she got into the hotel , she was setting up interviews to get herself a job.’

Lynn and Richard Appleby-Brisco moved to the Mediterranean country's Guarda district in 2016 - and are seen here in the Channel 4 show ahead of their big change

Lynn and Richard Appleby-Brisco moved to the Mediterranean country’s Guarda district in 2016 – and are seen here in the Channel 4 show ahead of their big change 

Lynn and Richard Appleby-Brisco moved abroad in 2016 to start a more ‘affordable’ life with their two daughters (all pictured together) in Portugal’s Guarda district

Lynn said she was 'scared to be in the house' on her own and would 'carry a knife' when she went down to the farm

Lynn said she was ‘scared to be in the house’ on her own and would ‘carry a knife’ when she went down to the farm

Ms Lewis said her friend was joined by her husband who had made the journey back from Portugal by road and with some of their possessions.

She said that the mother-of-two is now working as a chef in a pub restaurant and doing 12 hour shifts. 

‘It hasn’t been good, she and Richard were certainly left by the wayside,’ she said.

The couple’s harrowing experience in Portugal reached a chilling climax when angry locals attacked the family’s dog Cu – an estrela mountain cross retriever – which later died at the age of four.

The Appleby-Brisco’s ordeal has chilling echoes to that of Orla Dargan, who faced years of of threatening behaviour from a neighbour and found her rescue dog dead in a shallow well after she moved to Portugal in 2016.  

The family-of-four, from Biggleswade, Bedfordshire, say that after their goats were poisoned after a local admitted to stealing their cat Ponyo and her kitten Bubbles in January.

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

She told The Sun: ‘I just couldn’t take it anymore, and it was my absolute lowest point.

‘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.’

The family believe they inadvertently put a target on their backs after their episode aired in 2018. 

Among the outrageous incidents of harassment, the family were spat at and called ‘English pigs’ – while rumours were spread about Ms Appleby-Brisco being a devil-worshipping prostitute after she planted flowers outside their home.

The family flew home to the UK in February with a small suitcase holding a change of clothes and pyjamas.

Ms Appleby-Brisco and her children, Emily, 12, and Yvie, 10, are now living in a one-bed apartment, while their father is still trying to sell the property in Portugal and drive back all of their belongings. 

It comes after a former City investment banker who retired to the Algarve told MailOnline about her years of hell after an ‘aggressive’ neighbour took over her land and drove her out of her home, forcing her to go into hiding.

Richard is pictured building their Portugal home before they were forced back to the UK

Richard is pictured building their Portugal home before they were forced back to the UK

The family have raised £3,700 through a GoFundMe page to try and recover from the failed plan to move abroad

The family have raised £3,700 through a GoFundMe page to try and recover from the failed plan to move abroad

Orla Dargan bought her dream Portuguese villa for around £600,000 in 2016

Orla Dargan bought her dream Portuguese villa for around £600,000 in 2016

Orla Dargan in Portugal with her rescue dog Henry, who she says was 'killed' amid an ongoing boundary dispute

Orla Dargan in Portugal with her rescue dog Henry, who she says was ‘killed’ amid an ongoing boundary dispute

Orla Dargan bought her dream Portuguese villa for around €600,000 in 2016, and lived there happily for several years before her neighbour, an estate agent she describes as a ‘dangerous’ man, moved in next door.

The mother-of-two said she was warned about his ‘temper’ and went on to face years of threatening behaviour, including an alleged attempt to drive her off the road near her home. 

Her beloved rescue dog was also found dead, floating in a shallow well with horrifying injuries.

The Appleby-Briscos have raised £3,800 through a GoFundMe page to try and recover from the failed plan to move abroad.

On the page, Ms Appleby-Brisco wrote: ‘We arrived in Portugal almost eight years ago full of excitement of starting a new, sustainable life. We were followed by the film crew from Channel Fours Our Wildest Dreams as we wanted to inspire others. 

‘Initially our lives were great, we wanted to integrate locally so didn’t mix as much with the expats, put our girls in the village school, bought a little farm on the edge of the village, started to learn the language better, did everything we thought right.

‘Little did we know there was a storm of resentment in the village towards us, we had done nothing wrong so why would we even question it.’

Channel 4 has been approached for comment. 

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