Islander recovering from Hurricane Irma 'raped by prisoner on the loose'

Nick Reilly
British army commandos and local residents take part in recovery efforts after Hurricane Irma passed Tortola, in the British Virgin Islands. (Picture: AP)

Residents living on the British Virgin Islands have said they are ‘terrified’ of the prisoners who escaped during Hurricane Irma, and claim that one escaped convict have already committed a rape.

Around 100 ‘very serious’ prisoners have escaped the prison on the island of Tortola, with foreign minister Sir Alan Duncan yesterday warning the Commons that they pose a ‘serious threat of the complete breakdown of law and order’.

Now, islanders have opened up on the horror of the situation.

Shanelle Williams, who took 15 people into her home after the hurricane, said: ‘you go into the town, they crash and they open up and stealing everything. But since the military came it has calmed down, but the only issue right now is these prisoners are out. They have already raped someone and they have already tried to steal from people, it is terrifying.’

Describing the threat of looters, she said: ‘Looters were on the streets and no government officials… there were people breaking into jewellery stores and supermarkets.

Boris Johnson has visited the British Virgin Islands in an attempt to assess relief efforts (AP)

‘Then a couple of nights ago one family had a generator and five men with guns stick them up and took the generator away. You do not feel safe. The prisoners came and they were walking around, people were raped, I’ve heard there was rape and now they’re trying to round them up.’

But the raiders have also been defended by locals who claim that they are merely trying to provide for their families in desperate circumstances.

The workshop of Biff Smith and Amy Edmons, both 40, who run Dream Yacht Charter, has been looted in the days since the storm struck the island of Tortola.

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Despite their ordeal, Ms Edmons has defended the desperation of the raiders.

‘People are looting, but it is not out of spite or because they want to cash in on it, they just want to help their families,’ she said.

She also opened up on the aftermath of the hurricane, and revealed that it has been difficult to communicate with others.

‘We are prepared and we are not worried about getting water and first aid, but we know people who are and they don’t know where to go,’ she said.