A mother is being questioned by police after her desperate children sent out an email to say they were being held prisoner.
The mother, from Switzerland, and her boyfriend, have been arrested by Spanish police over allegations they held two children prisoners at their home in Alicante on the Costa Blanca.
The pair are believed to have moved to Alicante seven years ago, but the girl and boy, who were 10 and eight at the time have been held prisoner since. They are now 17 and 15.
They have now been rescued after the girl managed to send an email asking for help.
Officers are said to have almost been persuaded by the mother that nothing was amiss when they knocked on the door. But, the girl managed to cry out for help before police left the home.
The 49-year-old mother is believed to be denying all the allegations and told police there were no children living in her home.
However, her daughter says both she and her brother were both physically and mentally abused by their mother. She says they were beaten and her mother also threatened she would kill both of them.
She does not make the same allegations against her mother’s 30-year-old partner, also a Swiss national, but says he was aware of what was going on but chose not to do anything about it.
A spokesman from the Spanish Civil Guard, which is dealing with the case, said: “On receiving the email, we launched what was effectively a race against time. The sister and brother lived completely isolated from society.
“They did not speak Spanish, communicating only in English and never went to school.”
It is thought that the teenagers’ plight was not noticed earlier because the family had moved home six times in Alicante in seven years.
The daughter has told police that her mother smashed up a mobile phone she tried to use to call officers. She also says that she and her brother have been held prisoner with no access at all to the outside world and that they were not allowed to communicate with anyone except their mother and her partner.
The mother is now facing charges of domestic abuse, causing injuries and illegal detention while her partner has been charged with aiding and abetting.
While the children were immediately taken to a children’s centre in Alicante, the daughter has now travelled back to Switzerland with her birth father after he arrived in Spain to take her home. The boy, meanwhile, has gone back home, with the consent of the courts.