Two accused of Britons' murders to stand trial
21 October 2005, MADRID — The family of a couple, killed while house-hunting in Spain in 2003, have welcomed a murder trial date being set.
21 October 2005
MADRID — The family of a couple, killed while house-hunting in Spain in 2003, have welcomed a murder trial date being set.
Venezuelans Jorge Real Sierra, 56, and Juan Antonio Velazquez Gonzalez, 42, are to stand trial on 28 March 2006, the BBC reported.
The bodies of Linda and Anthony O'Malley, originally from Liverpool but who lived in Llangollen, were found in a house cellar near Benidorm.
Mr O'Malley's brother Bernard said: "It's a relief that a trial date has been set after so long."
The O'Malleys had travelled to Spain in August 2002 to go on holiday as well as looking 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 in March 2003.
Prosecutors believe the couple were kidnapped and tortured by criminals who then raided the couple's bank account and ran up huge credit card bills.
Their bodies were found in the cellar of this villa near Benidorm
Mrs O'Malley, 55, is said to have died of shock, and Mr O'Malley, 42, was asphyxiated with a plastic bag.
The trial is expected to last five days, and prosecutors will be asking for each man to be sentenced to 35 years if they are found guilty.
It had been feared that the trial could have taken more than five years to come to court because of long delays in the Spanish legal system.
In January 2004, a report by Spain's Judicial General Council said there were nearly a million criminal cases awaiting trial in courts across the country.
Then in April 2004, a Spanish newspaper reported that court proceedings had begun.
The Costa Blanca News reported that both men had given statements and entered pleas against charges of kidnap and murder before the residing judge.
The case had been remitted to the Provincial Court in Alicante, where the trial will be held.
Bernard O'Malley said he would attend the trial along with Linda O'Malley's two daughters.
He said: "We just want to get it over with."
Subject: Spanish news