AN IRISH couple have told how they were caught up in a terrifying kidnap ordeal when security guards at a resort in Turkey tried to snatch a two-year-old girl.
Phil and Elaine Brady, from Dublin, told how they battled with “large, burly” men who tried to abduct English couple Dean Cremin and Sophie Doors’ little daughter Evie.
The families had all become friends at the hotel after booking separate package trips the week before last.
But their getaway turned into a nightmare after a horrific incident in the the resort of Alanya.
Speaking to Katie Hannon on Liveline, Elaine said: “We had been out all day and Dean called us over to the bar when we got back to the hotel.
“Two men came out of nowhere, big, tall burly men, and we were aware of them just standing behind us and everything basically changed.
“One told me to ‘shut the f*** up, shut the f*** up’. Phil walked over and asked was there a problem and they suddenly grabbed him to the floor and they tried to grab my children, who are 10 and 11.
“Then we were suddenly aware of a third man who tried to put a towel over one of the children’s head.
“It was just madness, there was so much panic. There were punches thrown and we just tried to get back into the hotel.”
She continued: “We ran towards the lobby, one of the men grabbed Phil and tried to grab him back but he was too strong.
“We got to the lift, my two children were clutched on to my arm. My poor kids were terrified. Lucy was on her knees with her hands begging, ‘please don’t hurt my father, he’s a good man’.
“They did not relent. They continued to hit him, one of my children kicked one of the men.
“She grabbed her brother, ran into the toilet. My son dialed 911 and was on hold for six minutes and 25 seconds.
“They were amazing, they were so so brave.
“I don’t know why they targeted us. The only thing I can think of is that they were trying to create a distraction so they could take one of the children.
“It was the most harrowing experience we have ever had, it was terrible.”
Her husband Phil said the incident was like the movie Taken.
He explained: “When the police did come I was taken out of the lift, my hands put behind my back and put face down on the floor.
“Something was put to the back of my head, I don’t know if it was a gun or not but I was convinced I was behind held at gunpoint.
“These men who we now know were security guards stood talking to the police, looking over CCTV and then they left with no arrests being made.
“It was honestly like something from Taken.
“There was a London taxi driver there who spoke Turkish and he said to me do exactly what I say if you want to get out of here alive. I will never forget those words for as long as I live.”
Evie, who the men tried to snatched, was rescued by some German people who then hid her in a bush until the commotion died down.
Her father Dean Cremim told RTE: “I was screaming and shouting, The German couple came out of a bush and they had hidden her and my five-year-old son. I’m so grateful to them.
“I ran into lift and saw Phil and Elaine there fighting with the Turkish men.
“The doors were about to close and the Turkish men ran over trying to grab my daughter out of the lift. They tried to get her again.
“When the doors were closing again they put their hands in and grabbed her leg as the door was closing.
“The only thing I can think of was that she was two and had long blonde hair and stood out.”
The show also heard from other witnesses who were there that night and spoke of their horror at what they witnessed.
After contacting the Irish Embassy in Turkey and being told that no one from the hotel had reported the incident, Elaine said she went straight to the gardai on her return home.
She added: “We are so lucky in this country with our officials. The gardai were so good. They have since been in touch with Interpol to investigate.
“I just had to report and to tell the story because I would never have forgiven myself if I heard of it happening again because that’s the biggest fear, that they will try this with another family and take a child. It was horrendous.”