'Victim' who died in police custody is identified
9 February 2006, MARBELLA — Spanish police have discovered the man who died after being arrested in Marbella was Belgian and lived in the resort town.
9 February 2006
MARBELLA — Spanish police have discovered the man who died after being arrested in Marbella was Belgian and lived in the resort town.
Liever Franz Herman de Wilde, who died on Monday from a suspected heart attack, was not identified for two days despite police contacting hotels in the Costa del Sol town.
He was carrying no papers or a wallet and was dressed only in tracksuit bottoms or pyjamas.
Police said Wilde was a Belgian citizen aged 44 who lived on the so-called Golden Mile.
On Monday, he had just come off the beach when officers tried to detain him for annoying members of the public.
During a struggle, witnesses said officers repeatedly hit Wilde.
One said a police officer struck him against a post and a car when he was not resisting arrest.
Other witnesses said minutes later an officer put his knee against Wilde's throat and pushed it hard against the ground.
Members of the public were said to have joined in the attack.
An ambulance was called but Wilde died at the scene.
Four police and two members of the public appeared in court on Tuesday in connection with the case but were later released on conditional bail. The officers have been suspended from duty.
The officers may face charges of 'imprudent murder', otherwise known as manslaughter.
A judge has opened a legal investigation into Wilde's death.
Rafael del Pozo, head of police in Marbella, said officers received two calls at about 2pm about a man dressed only in pyjama trousers who was allegedly annoying passers-by in the centre of the town.
Señor Pozo said he was "semi-naked and insulting people who passed him".
He said when police tried to detain Wilde, he resisted arrest.
Señor Pozo added that because Wilde was overweight other officers were called to bring him under control.
But when officers handcuffed Wilde, he appeared to suffer some form of attack and by the time an ambulance arrived on the scene he had died.
British diplomats in Spain had tried to identify Wilde after it was first reported he was British.
Subject: Spanish news