Britons 'murdered in search for holiday home'
30 March 2006, ALICANTE — A British couple who were looking for a holiday home on the Costa Blanca were kidnapped, tortured, robbed of EUR 28,000 and murdered, a court heard.
30 March 2006
ALICANTE — A British couple who were looking for a holiday home on the Costa Blanca were kidnapped, tortured, robbed of EUR 28,000 and murdered, a court heard.
Linda and Anthony 0'Malley were lured to a chalet near Benidorm with the promise of a bargain, the BBC reported.
Two Venezuelans later allegedly kidnapped the couple and forced them to withdraw over EUR 28,000 from their bank account.
The couple, from North Wales, were bound and gagged in the chalet for five days.
Mrs O'Malley died of shock, and her husband was suffocated with a plastic bag, the court was told.
Their worried relatives urged police to search for the couple when they failed to return from their two-week trip in September 2002.
Their bodies were finally found in a cellar near Benidorm in March 2003.
Jorge Real Sierra, 56, and co-accused Juan Antonio Velazquez Gonzalez, 40, deny killing the couple in September 2002.
On the second day of the trial in Alicante, the court heard Real told police: "I know what I have done".
Officers told the court they feared for their lives when they arrested Real.
Anthony and Linda O'Malley were found dead in March 2003
Giving evidence, an unnamed officer told the court how Real was arrested while behind the wheel of a grey BMW car.
He said Real reached for a bag on the front passenger seat of the vehicle but stopped after officers put their guns to his head.
The bag turned out to contain a pistol, a false police badge, documents and other items.
The officer said: "It took us about 15 seconds to detain him. If we had been any slower one of us would have been dead, I'm sure of that."
Another officer told the court how when Real was brought to a police station, he had said: "I know what I have done, I just want to talk with your boss."
The couple's family are following the trial through an interpreter
A detective, who was also not named, told the court Real and his brother-in-law Velazquez had been traced to an apartment on the edge of Valencia, 50km north of Benidorm.
They were arrested within minutes of each other after British police informed their Spanish counterparts an e-mail had been sent to the UK about the O'Malleys.
The e-mail had been sent from an internet cafe in Valencia where a description given by staff a South American man matched that of a man who had fraudulently used Mr O'Malley's credit card.
Real had tried to blackmail the couple's family by offering to act as a hostage negotiator, initially asking for £8,000 (EUR 11,600) but stipulating he would want more if the couple were freed.
The O'Malleys' bodies were found under a concrete floor.
His offer came five months after he and his brother-in-law were alleged to have murdered and buried the couple and stolen EUR 28,000 from them.
After an exchange of e-mails and telephone calls, police obtained Real's telephone number and tracked the pair down, the court was told.
The O'Malleys had travelled to Spain in August 2002 to look for a retirement home on the Costa Blanca.
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.
The trial continues.
Subject: Spanish news