British woman 'died from terror' after kidnapping
5 April 2006, ALICANTE — A British woman literally died of terror after she and her husband were kidnapped while hunting for a retirement villa in Spain, a court has been told.
5 April 2006
ALICANTE — A British woman literally died of terror after she and her husband were kidnapped while hunting for a retirement villa in Spain, a court has been told.
Judges in Alicante heard that Linda O'Malley, 55, from Llangollen, North Wales, died from a heart attack and her husband, Anthony, 43, was strangled, the BBC reported.
Two men are accused of luring the couple to a villa in September 2002.
Jorge Real Sierra, 56, and Juan Antonio Velazquez Gonzalez, 40, deny murder.
The men, both from Venezuela, are facing charges of kidnap and murder, and of stealing EUR 25,000 from an account the couple had opened in a bank at Benidorm.
This woman died of stress because of the experience she was put through, pathologist Salvador Giner told the court.
They are also charged with the fraudulent use of the couple's bank cards, and stealing the couple's hired Fiat Stylo car.
The O'Malleys travelled to Spain in August 2002 to look for a retirement home.
They disappeared a month later and were the subject of a missing persons' inquiry for six months before Spanish police found the couple's bodies in March 2003.
Giving evidence, a pathologist said that Anthony O'Malley died from asphyxia.
Linda O'Malley died of stress because of the experience she was put through, Salvador Giner told the court.
Giner told the court that Mr O'Malley had injuries to his neck consistent with manual strangulation, and had been gagged.
A plastic bag had been placed over his head and his hands and feet were bound, he said.
But, unlike her husband, he said Mrs O'Malley's body showed no signs of asphyxia.
Post mortem examination showed she had been struck three times in the thorax, but the blows had not been strong enough to kill her.
Giner said Mrs O'Malley had a healthy heart, and that there were no signs of any previous heart attack.
"This woman died of stress because of the experience she was put through," he said.
After hearing Giner's evidence, the state prosecutor increased her demands against each of the accused from 18 years imprisonment to 20 years.
But she also asked the panel of judges to consider an alternative charge of manslaughter, carrying a four year jail term, if they could not convict the pair of murder in relation to Mrs O'Malley.
Previously, the court was told that Sierra was caught after he tried to obtain thousands of pounds from the couple's family.
He allegedly asked for GBP 8,000 (EUR 11,600) to act as a hostage negotiator, saying he would want more if the pair were freed.
But in fact it is alleged the couple had already been killed and buried in the cellar of the villa they visited five months before.
The case continues.
Subject: Spanish news