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York student Emily Jones stabbed in Mexico mugging
A STUDENT from York was stabbed in the stomach when she was mugged for the second time in two minutes while studying in Mexico.
Emily Jones, now safely back home in Holgate and recovering well, today spoke of her gratitude to a Mexican family and her parents for coming to her rescue after the stabbing in Guadalajara.
She said the Mexican family stopped their car and rushed her to hospital, with blood pouring from the 12-centimetre deep wound.
And her mother Jackie then flew out to Mexico to be by her bedside, while her father Mark stayed behind to deal with a myriad phone calls from worried relatives and friends, and sorted out insurance and other issues. “They are my heroes,” she said.
Emily, who celebrated her 22nd birthday yesterday, said she had travelled out to Mexico in July to spend a year at university there as part of her international relations course at the University of Nottingham.
The former Manor CE School pupil deliberately avoided Mexico City and northern areas, where crime is particularly high, and for two months enjoyed her time in the country. “Most Mexicans are very kind and welcoming people,” she stressed.
But on Sunday, September 30, she went out for a pizza and cup of tea at a cafe and was returning home with two friends when one of two Mexican men approached and grabbed her bag from around her neck. “It had everything in it apart from my passport – my purse, Ipod, phone, keys. They drove off and we sat down on the pavement in shock.
“Then another Mexican came up to us and said: “Dinero! Celular!’ meaning give me your money and your mobile phone. “I put my hands up as if in surrender, saying: “No tengo nada,” meaning: “I don’t have anything.”
“Then he stabbed me in the stomach before walking off. I must have been so full of adrenaline that I didn’t feel any pain, but then realised I was bleeding.
“My friend stopped a car that was passing with a Mexican family in it, who agreed to take me to hospital. I sat in there with blood pouring out.”
She said doctors, using an epidural rather than a general anaesthetic because she had just eaten a pizza, opened her up and took out her intestines to check they had not been perforated. Fortunately, the knife had missed them by millimetres, and the medics were then able to sew her up.
Her mother made the 30-hour journey via Amsterdam and Atlanta to Mexico, where she helped nurse Emily in hospital.
Emily said Mexican police had been blasé about the crimes, making no serious effort to catch and bring the perpetrators to justice, and even questioning her at one stage as if she was herself involved in serious crime.
She said she wanted to thank staff at the Tec De Monterey University, particularly the head of the international programme, known as Gabbo, for their help, and her boyfriend back home, Ian Ellwood, who spent hours skyping her to keep her spirits up.
“I also want to thank my friends at the Tec de Monterey. In particular Meredith Wagner and Caroline Floyd, who came and visited me every day in hospital.”
Emily said that while she did not plan to return to Mexico for a “very long time,” she was determined not to let the incident stop her going abroad, and she intended resuming her studies at university in Toulouse, southern France, in the New Year.
Advice from Caroline’s Rainbow Foundation
THE mother of murdered York backpacker Caroline Stuttle set up a website and charity offering tips to young travellers on how to stay safe.
The Caroline’s Rainbow Foundation, which marked its tenth anniversary this year, raises awareness of the importance of safe travel to young people, whether going abroad for independent travel, gap-year placements or organised trips.
Advice from the foundation to young female travellers is to be aware of cultural differences and take steps to reduce danger.
It advises not announcing that you are travelling alone.
“If you think you are being followed, walk confidently and calmly into a shop, hotel or any other busy place. Wait to see if the person who was following has moved on. You can always ask someone else to look for you and check the person has gone. Often the best people to ask are other women or family groups.”