'Drunk' holiday parents return to UK

A British couple holidaying in Portugal who were due in court today after allegedly getting so drunk that they passed out while in charge of their three young children are believed to have left the country, the Foreign Office said.

Eamon McGuckin, 34, and his wife Antoinette, 32, from Maghera, Northern Ireland, were due to attend a hearing at the Family and Minors Court in Faro this afternoon but failed to appear.

The Foreign Office said: "We understand that they have left Portugal and are en route to the UK. They are either en route or have already returned.

"There were no legal restrictions on them having to stay and there was no obligation for them to be in court."

Hotel staff in Vilamoura in the Algarve called police after the couple collapsed on Friday night.

They were taken to a health centre in nearby Loule while their children Adam, one, Amy, two, and Aaron, six, were temporarily taken into care at the Refugio Aboim Ascensao children's home in Faro.

The youngsters arrived at the home at 5am on Saturday and remained there until their parents came to collect them at midday after the on-duty public attorney ruled they should be returned.

The incident happened just 45 miles from Praia da Luz, where Madeleine McCann went missing from her family's holiday apartment while her parents dined nearby.

The parents and their children arrived at the Aparthotel Mourabel in Vilamoura on Friday for a one-week holiday.



After going out for dinner at about 8pm, they returned to the hotel two hours later where the father passed out on the sofa in reception and could not be woken up.

The hotel's manager said Mrs McGuckin was struggling with the pushchair.

He said: "We put her and the children inside the bar. She was sitting on a chair and fell asleep and never woke up.

"We tried to wake her, we tried to put some water on her face and head but she was very, very bad. She started to be sick every minute."

The parents apparently discharged themselves from the health centre in Loule and returned to the hotel at about 7am on Saturday unaware of what happened.

Last night police officers from Portugal's Guarda Nacional Republicana (GNR) spent 45 minutes at the couple's hotel apartment.

The McGuckins were due to attend court this afternoon although that did not necessarily mean they would face any charges of neglecting their three young children.

Mrs McGuckin has said she drank only three beers and reportedly requested details of hospital blood tests taken from her because she was "very surprised" at her reaction, a source close to the couple said.

The source said the reaction could have been because the couple were very tired after waking at 4am to travel to Portugal, and they had been affected by the heat.

Dr Luis Villas-Boas, director of the home where the three McGuckin children were taken, said it was a "pity" if the family had left the country before the court hearing.

He said: "If they flew before (the hearing), it's not a good symptom. It's a pity. It signals another level of guilt that I myself understood they did not have.

"I've followed this incident with pitiful feelings.

"I don't think they should be prosecuted but just blamed and given words of reprimand."

He said the children should have stayed at the home for the weekend, with the parents, because when they arrived they were exhausted.

He continued: "This is a 'could have been' incident. What it was was an ugly event with a happy ending.

"I was sympathetic to the parents and I understood they felt ashamed although I did blame them for what happened.

"This is an incident not to be repeated."

Suggested Topics
Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
PROMOTED VIDEO
News
ebooksNow available in paperback
Arts and Entertainment
Tony Hughes (James Nesbitt) after his son Olly disappeared on a family holiday in France
tv
Arts and Entertainment
The Apprentice candidates Roisin Hogan, Solomon Akhtar, Mark Wright, Bianca Miller, Daniel Lassman
tvReview: But which contestants got the boot?
Arts and Entertainment
Jim Carrey and Jeff Daniels ride again in Dumb and Dumber To
filmReview: Dumb And Dumber To was a really stupid idea
Extras
indybest
Sport
Scunthorpe goalkeeper Sam Slocombe (left) is congratulated by winning penalty taker Miguel Llera (right)
football
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Facilities Manager

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: A Facilities Manager is required to join the m...

Recruitment Genius: New Business Sales Consultant - Mobile - OTE £35,000

£14000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This independent telecoms compa...

Recruitment Genius: New Business Sales Consultant - Unified - OTE £35,000

£14000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This independent telecoms compa...

Recruitment Genius: Trade Sales Consultant - Furniture

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity to join a besp...

Day In a Page

Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton: The power dynamics of the two first families

Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton

Karen Tumulty explores the power dynamics of the two first families
Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley with a hotbed of technology start-ups

Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley

The Swedish capital is home to two of the most popular video games in the world, as well as thousands of technology start-ups worth hundreds of millions of pounds – and it's all happened since 2009
Did Japanese workers really get their symbols mixed up and display Santa on a crucifix?

Crucified Santa: Urban myth refuses to die

The story goes that Japanese store workers created a life-size effigy of a smiling "Father Kurisumasu" attached to a facsimile of Our Lord's final instrument of torture
Jennifer Saunders and Kate Moss join David Walliams on set for TV adaptation of The Boy in the Dress

The Boy in the Dress: On set with the stars

Walliams' story about a boy who goes to school in a dress will be shown this Christmas
La Famille Bélier is being touted as this year's Amelie - so why are many in the deaf community outraged by it?

Deaf community outraged by La Famille Bélier

The new film tells the story of a deaf-mute farming family and is being touted as this year's Amelie
10 best high-end laptops

10 best high-end laptops

From lightweight and zippy devices to gaming beasts, we test the latest in top-spec portable computers
Michael Carberry: ‘After such a tough time, I’m not sure I will stay in the game’

Michael Carberry: ‘After such a tough time, I’m not sure I will stay in the game’

The batsman has grown disillusioned after England’s Ashes debacle and allegations linking him to the Pietersen affair
Susie Wolff: A driving force in battle for equality behind the wheel

Susie Wolff: A driving force in battle for equality behind the wheel

The Williams driver has had plenty of doubters, but hopes she will be judged by her ability in the cockpit
Adam Gemili interview: 'No abs Adam' plans to muscle in on Usain Bolt's turf

'No abs Adam' plans to muscle in on Usain Bolt's turf

After a year touched by tragedy, Adam Gemili wants to become the sixth Briton to run a sub-10sec 100m
Calls for a military mental health 'quality mark'

Homeless Veterans campaign

Expert calls for military mental health 'quality mark'
Racton Man: Analysis shows famous skeleton was a 6ft Bronze Age superman

Meet Racton Man

Analysis shows famous skeleton was a 6ft Bronze Age superman
Garden Bridge: St Paul’s adds to £175m project’s troubled waters

Garden Bridge

St Paul’s adds to £175m project’s troubled waters
Stuff your own Christmas mouse ornament: An evening class in taxidermy with a festive feel

Stuff your own Christmas mouse ornament

An evening class in taxidermy with a festive feel
Joint Enterprise: The legal doctrine which critics say has caused hundreds of miscarriages of justice

Joint Enterprise

The legal doctrine which critics say has caused hundreds of miscarriages of justice
Freud and Eros: Love, Lust and Longing at the Freud Museum: Objects of Desire

Freud and Eros

Love, Lust and Longing at the Freud Museum