The mother of a woman locked up in a Dominican Republic jail says her daughter is losing hope after a court hearing to get her released on medical grounds has failed.
Nicole Reyes, 37, has now spent almost a year behind bars which her family said is despite her never being charged.
Nicole was arrested and put in jail after her husband Jorge, 38, died in a car crash on the Caribbean island last summer.
Her parents Jeannette and Michael Clements said Nicole was driving her Jeep and Jorge was on his motorbike alongside her when she tipped the back end of his bike as she told him to move to the other side because it was too dangerous.
Jeannette, 62, from Rumney in Cardiff, said claims of homicide were made against Nicole by Jorge’s family and that they were advised by her lawyer to negotiate a payment for these claims to be dropped.
She said they paid the family £40,000 several weeks ago and that the family signed a statement confirming that Jorge’s death was a road accident.
But Jeannette said Nicole remains in jail and that she is in bad health having being diagnosed with inflammation of the bowel, and suffering the ongoing stress of her prison ordeal.
Jeannette, who is caring for Nicole’s children Leah, 17, and Luke, 16, said Nicole appeared in court last week where her lawyer tried to get her released on medical grounds.
But she said this was rejected by the judge and that Nicole is back in court on June 6.
Jeannette said: “Why can’t the government do something when they have no witnesses and she’s being held without charge?”
She said: “I just feel so desperate. I just can’t explain to anybody how I feel, especially after listening to my daughter sobbing her heart out. I just need to let people know that this is happening and how my daughter is being treated.”
Jeannette said Nicole is not sleeping because of the stress and said she could hardly walk because of pain in her groin.
She said: “My daughter has got a very strong pain barrier. If she says she’s in pain I know she’s in a lot of pain.
“I just keep saying to her that I won’t give up. It’s nearly a year now and we’re still in the same position.”
Jeannette said she may have to fly to the Dominican Republic to support Nicole at her next court hearing.
The couple have already spent around £95,000 on lawyers’ fees, the payment to Jorge’s family and food, medication and phone cards for Nicole while she has been in jail.
Jeannette said: “I’m just so scared that I’m going to run out of money. We have just had to pay the lawyer another $11,000. If I say I haven’t got the money, it means my daughter hasn’t got a lawyer.”
She said: “We’ve lost our retirement money and will probably have to move from our house but that doesn’t matter.”
Anyone who can help the family should call Jeannette on 07577 976021.
A spokesperson for the Foreign and Commonwealth Office said: “We are aware of the detention of a British national, Nicole Reyes, in connection with the death of a Dominican national in July 2012.
“We have been providing consular assistance to Ms Reyes and her family since her detention and we continue to do so. Stephen Doughty MP and Ms Reyes’ parents met FCO officials on April 3 to discuss the case.”
Extracts from Nicole’s latest letter to the Foreign and Commonwealth Office which she has written over the last few weeks.
“The heavy feeling in my legs, the aching pain I get in the night when I’m in bed. The lack of sleep and when I do sleep the terrific nightmares I get. The swelling, dizziness, nausea and the depression along with thoughts of suicide. All of the above being repeated over and over at any opportunity.”
“I’ve told you before I don’t like to complain but I am not sure how long I can go on? I have made my family aware of all this, mainly my mother who I know has reported to you many times. I really do feel that no one really cares, so many say that as long as you’re breathing you’re fine. The other week one of the girls had tied string around her neck, was sprawled out on the floor with blood coming from her mouth not moving but the wardens were more concerned about getting the camera to take photos first than actually seeing if she was ok.”
“I am still not sleeping well and this last week I have been very unwell with my stomach and intestine problems. It sounds a really silly thing to say maybe to you but I am getting to the stage I am ready to quit. I cannot take much more mentally and physically. I feel very suicidal. They have changed my duties from the library to sweeping up the leaves in the front yard each morning at 6.30am. As you can appreciate, it was a struggle each morning to get out of bed after not sleeping all night. I found it very difficult to being outside. I was told one morning to clean up all the rubbish that had accumulated in dirty street water. This is water that flows from the street in the gutter and gathers into a pool but along with it floats rubbish. A warden told us to clear all the rubbish out and sweep away the dirty stagnant water. The water is green and slimy and the stench was incredible. I felt sick from the smell I was inhaling.”
“My mother is always the one to report things to you as I am always in tears on the phone to her. It is very frustrating here to get anywhere. I just want to resolve my health issues as I am so depressed at feeling so unwell.”