Spain sees surge of crimes of passion in August

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Five murders in three days in Spain bring this year’s death toll resulting from gender violence to 37.

8 August 2008

BARCELONA / OVIEDO / GERONA - August has been a dark month for gender violence and other crimes of passion.

On Thursday, a 19-year-old man turned himself in to Civil Guard authorities in Salamanca after allegedly killing his 18-year-old girlfriend.

The day before, police in Gijon found the semi-naked body of Maria de León Reyes, a 37-year-old mother of Dominican origin whose family had asked the media to help find her after she disappeared a week ago.

In Barcelona, a 28-year-old woman, originally from Russia, reportedly threw herself off a balcony in the centre of the city after arguing with her boyfriend.

And in Alicante, a man was killed after he had an argument with his ex-girlfriend and her new partner.

There have been at least 37 violent deaths from crimes of passion or gender violence. Authorities reported that August is normally the worst month for these types of crimes, when the incidence rate rises to about 6.7 percent compared to other months.

And experts believe there is a reason. During a holiday period, couples spend more time together, increasing the chances that a violent male will try to dominate the relationship.

In Villamayor de Armuña, Salamanca, a 19-year-old man, identified only by his initials V.M.G.P., called authorities at around 5am Thursday to report that he had killed his girlfriend.

When Civil Guard arrived at an open area where he reported the couple had been, the police found the body of M.S.C.H. The suspect showed "no signs of strange behaviour," said Miguel Alejo, the Castilla y León government delegate.

In Gijon, the family of De León Reyes, a mother of two, had asked for the public's help in finding her after she never came home from her restaurant job.

Immediately, the family pointed fingers at her former boyfriend - identified as J.M.C. - and owner of two bars that had been closed for about a week. Family members said the former boyfriend "had a bad temper".

It wasn't until Wednesday that the police were able to obtain a search warrant and enter the former boyfriend's home in the Tremañes neighbourhood. There they found the decomposed semi-naked body of De León Reyes in a bed.

Although J.M.C. is a prime suspect, Antonio Trevín, Gijon’s government delegate, said police are investigating several theories. Trevín added that the woman never asked for a restraining order.

Since the body was found, J.M.C., aged 40, has not answered his cellphone. Investigators believe he may have already left the country.

In Barcelona, police have preliminary ruled as a suicide the death of the Russian woman, who fell from a three-story balcony. However, investigators reportedly found signs of a struggle inside the apartment and neighbours had reported several arguments over the past few weeks.

She also had filed a domestic violence complaint against her boyfriend, who was later released. The case is still under investigation.

Meanwhile, a 49-year-old man, identified as Gines R.A., went to his former girlfriend's house in Alicante disregarding her restraining order against him.

A fight ensued between the couple and her current boyfriend and Gines R.A. died as a result of suffocation, paramedics said. No one has been arrested.

A gruesome scene occurred in Figueres, Gerona, on Tuesday, when a 32-year-old Venezuelan man turned himself in to Catalan police with the body of his girlfriend, a 20-year-old Honduran, in tow. He said he killed her in a fit of jealousy.

[El Pais / J. G. / M. B. / B. J. / Expatica]

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