Spanish man jilted on TV sentenced for murder

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A Spanish man convicted of murdering his girlfriend after she rejected his marriage proposal on a popular television show was Friday sentenced to 21 years in jail.

MADRID - The court in the eastern city of Alicante sentenced Ricardo Navarro to 19 years behind bars for fatally stabbing his Russian girlfriend, Svetlana Orlova, in November 2007.

He got another two years for the "habitual" physical abuse of Orlova during their four-year relationship.

Navarro was also ordered to pay EUR 300,000 (USD 377,500) in compensation to the victim's young son from another relationship and EUR 30,000 to her mother.

The lawyer representing Orlova's mother said he was "very satisfied" with the sentence, telling reporters it was "exemplary".

During the trial Navarro maintained his innocence and denied being at his former girlfriend's apartment building on the day she was found with her throat cut at the entrance of her home.

But several of Orlova's neighbours testified they saw him there that day. Police also found traces of her blood on the patio of Navarro's parents' house.

The stabbing came four days after a weeping Navarro, wearing a blue shirt and tie, kneeled before Orlova, 30, and presented her with a wedding ring on daytime talk show "Diario de Patricia" which regularly draws two million viewers.

"You are everything for me, without you I am nothing. I want to live with you forever," he said during the show taped and broadcast on 14 November 2007 on private channel Antena 3, just four days before the murder.

Orlova looked uncomfortable and remained silent as as the man, who was also 30 at the time, made his proposal, saying only "no" when the show's host pressed her for a reply.

The stabbing led Spain's socialist government to reach a deal with private television broadcasters to improve the way they cover violence against women.

Under the deal, private televisions stations must mention a 24-hour telephone hotline number every time they report on a case of domestic violence.

They are also now required to mention the court sentences handed out in every case of domestic violence they report on in order to reinforce the idea that it is not a crime that goes unpunished.

The case also revived accusations that television talk shows exploit participants without regard for their well-being after it was reported that the woman had requested a restraining order against Navarro and did not know he would be taking part in the show.

It is not the first time that a talk show with a focus on personal conflicts between its guests has been blamed for murder.

In 1995 a man in the United States shot and killed a friend who had confessed he was sexually attracted to him on "The Jenny Jones Show".

The victim's family successfully sued producers of the show who were ordered to pay 25 million dollars in damages.

An appeals court later overturned the ruling on the grounds that producers were not responsible for what happened to the guests after they appeared on the television show.

AFP / Expatica

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