Probe begins into why paedophile accused of girl's murder was free

28th March 2008, Comments 1 comment

Inquiry to look into why Del Valle García has been free despite being previously convicted twice on sexually assaulting minors

28 March 2008

MADRID - Judicial authorities on Thursday opened an inquiry into why a man accused of killing a five-year-old girl in Huelva had been free despite being convicted on two previous occasions of sexually assaulting minors, including his own daughter.

Santiago del Valle García, 52, who was met with a hail of rocks and bottles from angry protestors when he was taken to court in Huelva yesterday, had been sentenced in 2005 to two years and nine months in prison for sexually abusing his five-year-old daughter in 1999. He had also received a two-year sentence for abusing a nine-year-old girl in 2002, but had managed to avoid imprisonment for reasons that have yet to be determined.

Del Valle García is currently the principal suspect in the 13 January disappearance of Mari Luz Cortés, the young daughter of neighbours in the Huelva district of El Torrejón. Her body was found 54 days later in an estuary near the city.

"I am glad there will be justice," Juan José Cortés, Mari Luz's father, told Cadena SER radio yesterday.

Members of the Cortés family were among the estimated 600 protestors outside the Huelva courthouse yesterday, some of whom had to be beaten back by police in order to prevent them reaching the van carrying Del Valle García. Two journalists were injured in the violence.

[Copyright El Pais 2008]

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