A Portuguese mechanic has been spared jail despite confessing to the horrific rape of a British hitchhiker on the Algarve.
Tiago Curado de Sousa, 33, received a four-and-a-half year suspended prison sentence after being convicted of the attack.
He was also ordered to pay his 24-year-old victim, who was trying to get to Faro Airport to fly home after attending a festival, 2,000 euros (£1,750) in compensation.
Tiago Curado de Sousa, 33, who avoided a prison sentence after being convicted of rape
Curado de Sousa (pictured) attacked a British tourist as she tried to hitchhike to an airport and fly home
Curado de Sousa admitted forcing himself on the tourist at a one-day trial at a court in the holiday resort of Lagos.
The hearing and sentencing were held in private, as is customary in Portugal in cases involving alleged sex crimes.
Prosecutors were seeking a prison sentence of more than five years before Curado de Sousa’s court confession.
In Portugal rape is punishable by up to ten years in prison.
The state prosecution case against Curado de Sousa – detailing the April 14, 2017 rape close to the town of Praia da Luz where Madeleine McCann disappeared in May 2007 – was laid out in a five-page written indictment.
The court heard how he agreed to take his victim to Lagos in his tow truck after spotting her by the side of a main road running through nearby Aljezur with a sign reading ‘Faro’.
Instead of helping her, he pulled over 10 miles down the road claiming he had to collect a broken-down vehicle.
He then walked round to the passenger side and exposed himself, saying ‘come on baby’ in English.
The indictment said: ‘As the woman refused his sexual proposition, he used physical force and grabbed her by the shoulders to pull her from the vehicle and take her to the back of the tow truck.
‘Using physical force again, he turned her over on his side and made her lie down.’
Prosecutors said he raped her twice without any protection during the horrific attack, insisting: ‘He knew he was acting against her wishes but it didn’t stop him from pursuing his intentions.
‘He knew his behaviour was illegal and banned by law.’
A vehicle identical to the one Curado de Sousa was driving when he picked up the young woman from the roadside
Sources close to the case said he fell to his knees during the sex attack and apologised before confessing his crime to police and taking them to the place it happened.
Curado de Sousa’s victim, who is now receiving counselling, gave evidence by video-link at the trial earlier this month.
Sentencing took place during a separate court session on Wednesday.
The British woman’s lawyer Miguel Teixeira said afterwards he would need to speak to his client before deciding whether to appeal.
Curado de Sousa going into court in Lagos, Portugal
But he added: ‘There was a full confession so a sentence of this kind was to be expected.’
He said: ‘She is receiving psychological support in England. She has been left very traumatised by what happened.
‘It was her first trip to Portugal. She came here with a group of friends for a concert and was on her way back to Faro Airport to catch a flight home when it happened. Basically she was on holiday.’
In June a 23-year-old British holidaymaker was arrested after allegedly raping a 17-year-old tourist in the street.
They had left a bar in the famous Strip area of the Algarve resort of Albufeira, which is near Oura Beach and known for its vibrant nightlife.
Two police officers were injured as they tried to stop him after a chase.
In April police in Albufeira arrested a barman on suspicion of raping a British holidaymaker.
The 19-year-old tourist told detectives she was forced to have sex at a nightspot in the resort after having her drink spiked.
The unnamed 28-year-old Portuguese barman was released on bail pending an ongoing criminal investigation after appearing before a judge in a closed court hearing.
He was told he must sign on regularly at court as part of his bail conditions.
It was not clear today if any decisions on prosecution had been made in either of those two cases.