Belfast Telegraph

UK Website Of The Year

Belfast couple drugged and raped on holiday

By Ali Gordon

A Belfast couple were beaten, raped and robbed on a holiday from hell in Thailand.

Gerald Drumgoole and husband Michael Burnett woke up with no recollection of the horrific incident that happened after their drinks were spiked on a night out in Phuket.

“My head’s all over the place at the moment,” brave Gerald told Sunday Life.

“Physically we’re fine, but mentally we’re not.”

Medical reports confirmed that Gerald had been raped, while his partner of 11 years had been assaulted.

“We’ve no memory of it so we’re trying to piece together what happened, but it’s just not happening,” said the 33-year-old, who was on his sixth visit to Thailand with Michael.

“It was December 30 and we’d only gone out for a few drinks because New Year’s Eve was the following day and we wanted to go to the beach and light lanterns at midnight. We never wanted to have a crazy night and then this happened.”

The last thing the couple remember is being in a bar on Phuket’s popular tourist strip of Bangla Road.

Gerald said: “We had two beers in one bar and then we moved on to another bar. Neither of us remember meeting anyone or anything strange happening at all.

“Whatever drugs were used to spike our drinks have totally wiped our memories. I woke up and felt disgusting and I was in quite a lot of pain.”

He added: “People thought it was both of us that had been raped, but it was only me. My husband was badly beaten and robbed, and I was raped.

“I woke up in my hotel room with no underwear on and my belt was missing, with initially no clue what had happened. My husband was there too, but he didn’t remember anything either.

“Whatever they had put in his drink, it didn’t even come into his head that I wasn’t there or that something was happening to me.

“He doesn’t remember anything at all.”

Gerald says Michael, also 33, is struggling to come to terms with what happened in Phuket.

“My husband is still in shock and he feels so helpless because he wasn’t there to help me when I was being raped,” he said.

“When we told the Thai police they just laughed at us and, as it turns out, we’ve heard that this has happened to other people too, in particular girls who have been raped.”

After returning to Belfast last Wednesday, the couple visited their GP for further treatment.

Gerald said: “We’ve come back home and have had to get more HIV injections. I’ve had Hepatitis A and B injections and I’m having to wait on test results so it’s a really nervous time for us.

“It’s the not knowing that is killing us. We can’t decide if we want to know or would we rather not know and not have any flashbacks of it.”

Gerald and Michael have also had issues with their insurance company, OUL Direct, who took five days to respond to calls and then refused to pay their medical bill.

In a statement, OUL said: “We take all complaints very seriously and are sorry this situation has occurred.”

Gerald added: “We’ve done a lot of travelling together and have never not felt safe. Thailand is such a beautiful country and we both love it, but this has just been awful. It’s a really horrible time for us.”

Online Editors

Popular

From Belfast Telegraph