Branded ‘English pigs’, rumours of devil-worship and string of mystery pet deaths: How family’s dream life in Portugal turned into a nightmare when they were targeted by locals who saw them on C4 show – as more Brits are hounded out of their foreign homes

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Written By Maya Cantina
  • Has your dream move abroad turned into a nightmare? Email: dan.grennan@mailonline.co.uk 

A British family who were hounded out of Portugal by locals who branded them ‘English pigs’ and spread rumours of devil-worship have told how their dream life turned into a nightmare. 

Lynn and Richard Appleby-Brisco moved to the Mediterranean country’s Guarda district in 2016 with plans to start a more ‘affordable’ life with their two young daughters.

The family featured on Channel 4’s Our Wildest Dreams but not long after the show aired, their life in the remote village became their wildest nightmare.  

The angry locals attacked the family’s dog Cu – an estrela mountain cross retriever – which later died at the age of four.

The Appleby-Brisco’s ordeal has chilling echoes to that of Orla Dargan, who faced years of of threatening behaviour from a neighbour and found her rescue dog dead in a shallow well after she moved to Portugal in 2016.  

The family-of-four, from Biggleswade, Bedfordshire, say that after their goats were poisoned a local admitted to stealing their cat Ponyo and her kitten bubbles in January.

Ms Appleby-Brisco, 51, said that when she confronted a villager about the mystery deaths, she was told: ‘We’ve taken your pets and you’re next.’

Lynn and Richard Appleby-Brisco moved abroad in 2016 to start a more ‘affordable’ life with their two daughters (all pictured together) in Portugal’s Guarda district

The family's move to the remote village was filmed for Channel 4's Our Wildest Dreams. They are pictured on the show in 2018 here

The family’s move to the remote village was filmed for Channel 4’s Our Wildest Dreams. They are pictured on the show in 2018 here

Lynn said she was 'scared to be in the house' on her own and would 'carry a knife' when she went down to the farm

Lynn said she was ‘scared to be in the house’ on her own and would ‘carry a knife’ when she went down to the farm

She told The Sun: ‘I just couldn’t take it anymore, and it was my absolute lowest point.

‘I was scared to be in the house on my own so I would hang around the biggest local town all day to feel safe.

‘It was so bad that when I would go down to the farm I would carry a knife with me, and I consider myself a pacifist.’

The family believe they inadvertently put a target on their backs after their episode aired in 2018.

Among the outrageous incidents of harassment, the family were spat at and called ‘English pigs’ – while rumours were spread about Ms Appleby-Brisco being a devil-worshipping prostitute after she planted flowers outside their home.

The family flew home to the UK in February with a small suitcase holding a change of clothes and pyjamas.

Ms Appleby-Brisco and her children, Emily, 12, and Yvie, 10, are now living in a one-bed apartment, while their father is still trying to sell the property in Portugal and drive back all of their belongings. 

It comes after a former City investment banker who retired to the Algarve told MailOnline about her years of hell after an ‘aggressive’ neighbour took over her land and drove her out of her home, forcing her to go into hiding. 

Orla Dargan bought her dream Portuguese villa for around €600,000 in 2016, and lived there happily for several years before her neighbour, an estate agent she describes as a ‘dangerous’ man, moved in next door.

The mother-of-two said she was warned about his ‘temper’ and went on to face years of threatening behaviour, including an alleged attempt to drive her off the road near her home. 

Her beloved rescue dog was also found dead, floating in a shallow well with horrifying injuries.

Orla Dargan in Portugal with her rescue dog Henry, who she says was 'killed' amid an ongoing boundary dispute

Orla Dargan in Portugal with her rescue dog Henry, who she says was ‘killed’ amid an ongoing boundary dispute

Orla Dargan bought her dream Portuguese villa for around £600,000 in 2016

Orla Dargan bought her dream Portuguese villa for around £600,000 in 2016

Richard is pictured building their Portugal home before they were forced back to the UK

Richard is pictured building their Portugal home before they were forced back to the UK

The family have raised £3,700 through a GoFundMe page to try and recover from the failed plan to move abroad

The family have raised £3,700 through a GoFundMe page to try and recover from the failed plan to move abroad

The Appleby-Briscos have raised £3,800 through a GoFundMe page to try and recover from the failed plan to move abroad.

On the page, Ms Appleby-Brisco wrote: ‘We arrived in Portugal almost eight years ago full of excitement of starting a new, sustainable life. We were followed by the film crew from Channel Fours Our Wildest Dreams as we wanted to inspire others. 

‘Initially our lives were great, we wanted to integrate locally so didn’t mix as much with the expats, put our girls in the village school, bought a little farm on the edge of the village, started to learn the language better, did everything we thought right.

‘Little did we know there was a storm of resentment in the village towards us, we had done nothing wrong so why would we even question it.’

Channel 4 has been approached for comment. 

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