Tuesday, 28 October 2008

Spain’s coastal real estate overdevelopment, a faltering global economy and systematic corruption that has left entire towns bankrupt.

An overabundance of homes in Spain’s beachside playground sends real estate agencies into crisis mode. Faced with rapidly deteriorating demand after decades of growth and construction, one of Europe’s most popular vacation and retirement destinations is showing signs of desperation, now offering buyers a deal usually reserved for corner stores.Left with a surplus of properties after a decade of rapid building to keep pace with the demand of vacationers and second-home buyers from Northern Europe, especially Britain, one developer is offering a buy one, get one free deal on homes along the legendary stretch of coast.Once home to movie stars and European aristocracy, the Costa del Sol, stretching from the regional capital of Malaga to the southernmost point of the country in Tarifa, has lately fallen on hard times thanks to overdevelopment, a faltering global economy and systematic corruption that has left entire towns bankrupt.The region, so dependent on the housing market, was left floundering, driving hundreds of developers and real estate agencies out of business, and forcing the few that remain to extreme measures. Salsa Immobiliaria, located in Malaga, has launched a special, offering a free golf resort apartment when purchasing a $1.1 million seaside home. While offering a free apartment may appear like a dramatic measure, Salsa said it would be preferential to lowering prices any more than they already have. “The price of new housing will not be reduced further because it already has been on several occasions,” Guillermo Chicote told the Spanish newspaper El Pais. “People shouldn’t expect home prices to go down 30 or 40 percent, because I’d as soon give the houses away to the bank before doing that.”
Despite drastic efforts to unload properties across the region, Spain’s coastal real estate problems do not appear to extend to the country’s high-end homes.
“At the top end, prices perhaps doubled in the period up to 2004 or 2005, although since then there’s been no real change. At the bottom end things are quite different: a big over-supply, very few buyers now, prices are falling,” James Stewart of Savills Real Estate told the Financial Times.Outside of high-end pockets along the coast, tourist-heavy towns have suffered due to a glut of construction and a scheme known as “off-plan,” where a buyer pledges to purchase a home before it has been built, making long-term financial stability all the more important.
The downturn on the Costa del Sol is a part of a large, continent-wide challenge, most visible in Ireland and Spain, where inflated home prices and decreasing demand for new construction have left economies reeling.

Wednesday, 22 October 2008

Kevin Oneil Carter was arrested in a community called Cay Hill just outside the island's capital of Philipsburg on Saturday morning.

The picture of Kevin Oneil Carter was published along with a 3,000-guilder (approximately US$1,700) reward on offer to any one who provided information leading to his arrest.

Jamaican man believed to be the leader of a gang of Jamaicans committing most of the armed robberies on the island of St Maarten in recent times, was on Saturday arrested by police, about four hours after his picture was published in the press on the tiny Dutch colony in the Eastern Caribbean. Carter, 22, was arrested in a community called Cay Hill just outside the island's capital of Philipsburg on Saturday morning. Police said following the publication of his picture, the police department was flooded with calls providing them with information that led to his capture. They said that about 7:30 a.m. Carter was held and while he initially resisted being arrested, was eventually subdued. Carter's Jamaican passport describes him as a farmer from Trelawny, but according to the police in St Maarten, he was armed and dangerous and was not afraid to use violence to achieve his aimss.
In recent months, St Maarten, home to several thousand Jamaicans who make their living there, has been rocked by a wave of armed robberies. Using information gleaned from their investigations into these robberies, the police surmised that many of these robberies were being committed by criminals mainly from Jamaica.
Also in recent months, more than 15 Jamaicans were arrested in connection with these robberies. Many of the arrests were made during raids carried out by St Maarten police with the assistance of special investigators flown in from Holland to tackle the rise in armed robberies. This past weekend, as residents of the island were cleaning up following the passage of Hurricane Omar, the police carried out a raid at several locations across the island, including a popular Jamaican restaurant and bar and arrested 20 persons, 11 of them Jamaicans. It was not clear if anyone collected the reward that was offered for Carter's arrest.

Monday, 20 October 2008

British gangs ,Hired Hitmen and Gangwar on the Costas

Until recently British gangs had largely left the smuggling of marijuana to French-Algerian gangs, who were more likely to resort to violence.But police sources told El Mundo, that the recent spate of shootings – three in a month – appear to involve British gangs moving back on the scene.Detectives believe that the shooting in Marbella ‘by a hired hitman’ may have come about after a failure to pay for a shipment of drugs.Another source “There are two big British gangs from Manchester and Liverpool, who are muscling in on the lucrative drug trade.
“There are bound to be knock on effects.”The victim has been living in an exclusive urbanisation in Cancelada, Estepona for the last few years. His home was searched at the weekend as police tried to establish a motive for the shooting.It is the third shooting in Marbella in a month with Irish gangster Peter Mitchell shot as he sat on the terrace of El Jardin bar, in Aloha, two days before the Nikki Beach incident.
Earlier this year infamous Irish gangster Paddy Doyle was shot in Estepona.Minister for the Interior, Alfredo Pérez Rubalcaba, said that it was thought the recent shooting was linked to a “settling of scores, probably over drugs”.Politicians are coming under increasing pressure to deal with the crime situation on the Costa del Sol. A third of all Spain’s mafia gangs have their headquarters in Malaga province and since 2006 over 100 gangs have been disbanded.A British professor recently finished a doctorate on the problem. Jennifer Sands from Leeds University said: “The area is attractive to mafia gangs because until recently the Spanish authorities did not take it seriously.”It emerged this week that two men, one English, have been arrested and remanded in custody for the shooting at Nikki Beach. In the incident three Britons were shot, one in both legs.
Mongrel Mob

The Mongrel Mob has been active in New Zealand since the 1960s, with its members predominantly from Maori and Pacific communities. The gang is involved in drug dealing, armed robberies, assaults and theft. Patched Mongrel Mob members were responsible for the killing of 2-year-old Jhia Te Tua on May 5 last year. Te Tua's father was a member of the Mongrel Mob's main rival, Black Power.

Black Power

Unlike the Mongrel Mob, which recruits members regardless of their ethnicity, Black Power is a Maori organisation. Formed in the early 1970s, the gang has sought credibility as a political civil rights movement but this has not reduced criminal activity. Rifts are said to have emerged within the gang between older members and more recent recruits who are dealing in hard drugs, such as P.

Hell's Angels

Harley Davidsons are the bike of choice for international motorcycle gang Hell's Angels, who have been active in New Zealand since the early 1960s. The gang is involved in organised crime such as money laundering and drug manufacturing and dealing. Police believe the gang is now co-operating with other gangs in the production and selling of methamphetamines.

The new gang on the block in Wanganui, police say they have seen an increased presence from the gang since they launched a crackdown on the Mongrel Mob following Jhia's death. Operating across the North Island, members have been convicted of everything from methamphetamine manufacture to murder.

Saturday, 18 October 2008

Neapolitan Camorra, planned a massive motorway bomb to kill the bestselling writer Roberto Saviano

Neapolitan Camorra, planned a massive motorway bomb to kill the bestselling writer Roberto Saviano, the author of a big expose on their activities, as he travelled with his armed Carabinieri bodyguards. The plot, revealed by one of the Casalesi clan supergrasses, has resulted in a flurry of arrests and yesterday, asked by text message if he was OK, Saviano sent the Herald a simple, one-word return: "resisto" (meaning "I'm resisting" or "I'm still standing"). Saviano, 29, interviewed in secret in Naples in June, has lived a nomadic existence in hiding for more than two years after he wrote his blockbuster exposé of the vicious Neapolitan Mafia. The book, Gomorrah , has been turned into a movie that won the Grand Jury Prize at Cannes this year and will be Italy's entry in the best foreign film category at this year's Oscars. The bomb plot was revealed by the supergrass, Carmine Schiavone, who admitted that the book's revelations had infuriated the Casalesi clan bosses and a plan to blow up Saviano and his police escorts was expected before Christmas. Schiavone has been given a new identity and lives in hiding, like Saviano, but with more than 20 armed guards to protect him. He is the cousin of the jailed Casalesi family boss, Francesco Schiavone, who has pledged to murder his relative for turning on the clan. Carmine Schiavone informed police that the plot to kill Saviano had "moved into the operational phase". The idea was to plant a roadway bomb on the motorway between Rome and Naples and to kill the young author and his bodyguards, who have become his friends and only companions. Saviano has been assigned more plain-clothes officers and is moved from house to house. Franco Roberti, the chief anti-Mafia investigatorin Naples, said the author had been under threat for some time: "We know that he is exposed to a major risk and we have placed adequate protective measures around him". It is understood that Neapolitan police are linking the plot to another piece of information provided by another informer, which suggested a Camorra fugitive, Giuseppe Setalo, was known to be searching for a large quantity of explosives.

60-year-old Stanislao Cantelli was playing cards in a social club on the high street of Casal di Principe

60-year-old Stanislao Cantelli was playing cards in a social club on the high street of Casal di Principe - a satellite town and stronghold of the Camorra gangs - when someone walked in and fired 18 bullets. Paratroopers were 200 metres away. By the time the police arrived, the killer and all witnesses had fled. Shops were closing their shutters.Two days after Silvio Berlusconi, centre-right prime minister, sent 500 troops to reinforce police in the Naples area after a spate of killings, the Mafia delivered their blunt response.Police say Mr Cantelli, a retired cheese factory worker, paid the price for being the uncle of Luigi Diana, a Mafia "pentito" or turncoat whose information had led to the arrest of members of the Casalesi clan.
Two weeks earlier, suspected Casalesi hitmen shot six African immigrants in Castelvolturno, a derelict zone north of Naples trying to reinvent itself with a coastal golf course.A turf war over narcotics or golf, or simply a cocaine-driven demonstration of power by the mob? Police are not sure. Frightened immigrants protested, accusing the state of abandoning them and Italians of racism.The government's decision to deploy the army has been cautiously welcomed by Italians as a sign that the state is trying to impose an authority that has been absent for years. Critics say it is just for show.Meanwhile, the ministers of interior and defence disagree on the nature of the battle. After Mr Cantelli's murder, Roberto Maroni, the interior minister who believes he is waging a "civil war", said he had never expected "a bed of roses" and victory within hours. "But I am sure we can do it and the people of Campania (the region around Naples) will learn to trust the state," he said on television.Ignazio La Russa, the defence minister prefers the terminology of a war between gangs, but he agrees on the target. "The only war we are waging is against the Camorra," he said. An editor of a local newspaper who asked not to be named said the government had been obliged to be seen responding to the violence, but he doubted the move would would tackle its roots which is the nexus of power between local politicians and the mob."This war is win-win for Berlusconi," he said. Some local politicians "up to their necks" in the Mafia might be sacrificed but they would be replaced. Further south in Calabria, Nicola Gratteri, an anti-mafia prosecutor, was involved in co-ordinated raids last month against drug traffickers in Italy, the US, Mexico and Guatemala.More than 16 tonnes of cocaine were seized and 200 people held, including 16 suspected members of the 'Ndrangheta Mafia clans based in Calabria who control the flow of Colombian cocaine into Europe.Mr Gratteri said Colombian drug lords were outsourcing their distribution to Mexican gangs to feed the US and European markets, where in turn the 'Ndrangheta supply the Camorra around Naples.Organised as an impenetrable, cell-like structure of families, the 'Ndrangheta have grown into Europe's most powerful criminal network, controlling businesses and politicians and influencing local elections.Apart from the occasional vendetta exploding into public, the 'Ndrangheta tend to keep a lower profile than the Camorra and avoid direct confrontation with the state.Sending in the army is not an effective tool, says Mr Gratteri. "Checkpoints are not the answer. It doesn't matter whether it is the Carabinieri police or the army." To make his point, he shows where a bug was found in a store-room next to the guarded office where he and colleagues used to have what they thought were confidential conversations."The Mafia are different. They organise themselves, create their rules and also have a consensus among part of the population. Checkpoints have a good psychological effect but they do not give results."His biggest weapon is telephone intercepts. They are cheap and simple. He says the city has one of the most effective monitoring systems in the world, tapping more than 1,000 people."Investigations are the answer but to carry them out you need time, months, years," he says. "So it is important to raise the number of people employed."Contrary to checkpoints, to fight against the Mafia one must camouflage oneself, forget to exist, disappear . . not with cameras and journalists who follow you around."

Wednesday, 15 October 2008

Four Liverpool gangsters were being held on the Costa del Sol accused of the shooting Marvin Herbert

Four Britons were being held on the Costa del Sol today accused of the shooting of a Liverpool man last month.Beachfront bar security boss Marvin Herbert was gunned down on September 24 at Puerto Banus, the millionaires’ yacht marina on the edge of Marbella.The 33-year-old was shot five times in the eye, the groin, pelvis, right leg and right arm.He was attacked in broad daylight by a lone gunman in front of dozens of witnesses.Herbert remains in hospital after a series of operations.
Police immediately said they believed the attack was a “settling of scores” related to drug trafficking.Puerto Banus and nearby Nueva Andalucia is a favourite hang-out for British and other international “costa crooks”.Herbert is said to have spent several hours drinking coffee alone on the terrace of Solly’s Diner in Puerto Banus before the shooting.At the time sources suggested the attack could have been revenge for the shooting of another Liverpool man in Marbella.Several other tit-for-tat shootings have taken place in the resorts in recent months.Numerous city gangsters are said to be in Spain, including some with links to murders such as that of Colin Smith, Curtis Warren’s former right-hand man shot dead in Speke last November

Tuesday, 14 October 2008

Kirby Archer, the Arkansas man who admitted killing four people aboard the Joe Cool charter boat on the high seas last year, on Tuesday was sentenced

Kirby Archer, the Arkansas man who admitted killing four people aboard the Joe Cool charter boat on the high seas last year, on Tuesday was sentenced to life in prison -- five times. Archer, 36, was given consecutive life terms by U.S. District Judge Paul Huck during a hearing in Miami federal court. He had pleaded guilty this summer to four murder counts and one conspiracy offense to take over the vessel, resulting in the deaths. Family members and friends sobbed during the emotional proceeding.
The judge's actions marked the end of one chapter in the mystery of how four members of the Miami Beach charter boat were shot and dumped at sea on Sept. 22, 2007.
A second defendant, Guillermo Zarabozo, 20, of Hialeah, will go to trial for the second time on murder and kidnapping charges in January after the judge declared a mistrial in the first trial. Zarabozo was convicted on only four counts of providing the gun used to kill the four people. But jurors deadlocked on whether he took part in their kidnapping and murder. Prosecutors contend that Zarabozo knew his accomplice planned to hijack the Joe Cool and use it to flee to Cuba at any cost to avoid arrest in the United States. Archer did not testify at Zarabozo's trial.
Archer's sentence came as no surprise since he had already pleaded guilty in July to murder and kidnapping charges to avoid a possible death sentence. At the time, family members told The Miami Herald they were satisfied with the guilty plea by Archer but had hoped prosecutors would go to trial to get the death penalty.
Killed in the incident were Jake Branam, 27; his wife, Kelley Branam, 30; Branam's half-brother, Scott Gamble, 35; and first mate Samuel Kairy, 27, all of Miami Beach.
A former U.S. Army guard from Strawberry, Ark., Archer ended up in Miami-Dade as a fugitive on the run for stealing $92,000 from a Wal-Mart where he worked. Archer looked up friends in Hialeah he had met while stationed at the Guantanamo Naval Base and hid out for months. On Sept. 22, 2007, he and Zarabozo showed up at the Miami Beach Marina and chartered the 47-foot sport-fishing boat for a one-way trip to Bimini. They paid $4,000 in cash. Something horrible happened during the trip. The Joe Cool was found drifting empty near the Bahamas -- everyone on board had disappeared. Archer and Zarabozo were found the next day by the Coast Guard drifting away on a raft. Neither the victims' bodies nor the murder weapons were recovered. Prosecutors say the two defendants intended to go to Cuba, where Archer wanted to hide from his fugitive arrest warrant. After Zarabozo and Archer were rescued at sea, both told the Coast Guard and FBI agents that Cuban hijackers killed the charter boat crew and later let the two men go free. But Zarabozo later told investigators that Archer reached into Zarabozo's bag on board the Joe Cool and grabbed his gun to kill the four victims -- before they both dumped the bodies into the Atlantic Ocean. The government's case was viewed at first as mainly circumstantial because it lacked the victims' bodies, murder weapons or other direct evidence to link the slayings to Archer and Zarabozo. But Zarabozo's admission implicating Archer for the killings bolstered the prosecution's case -- assuming he was going to testify against his accomplice at trial.

Monday, 13 October 2008

Shooting of a Fink at Wooroloo, 55km east of Perth

Shooting of a motorcyclist at Wooroloo, 55km east of Perth, yesterday may be part of a dispute between rival motorcycle gangsThe man was riding his motorcyle on Great Eastern Highway at Wooroloo when he was shot about 3pm. He is under police guard at Royal Perth Hospital where he was last night reported to be in a serious but stable condition. The shooting follows information given to WA police last week police that an eastern states motorcycle gang, The Finks, was planning a move into WA.
The wounded man is believed to be a member of The Finks, and police say they were investigating possible links between the shooting and outlaw motorcycle groups.
More details are expected to be released at a police news conference today.
Police have set up a detour around the crime scene on Great Eastern Highway, which will remain closed until midday.

Sunday, 12 October 2008

Marvin Herbert shooting four Britons have been arrested

Four Britons have been arrested in connection with the latest shooting incident in Puerto Banús on September 24 of club security boss, Marvin Herbert, originally from Liverpool.Named by the police as 40 year old M.A.A., 62 year old K.A.A., 59 year old M.Z.S., and 40 year old M.L.K., all four are believed to have taken part in the attempted assassination. The victim was shot five times in his right eye, right leg, right arm, pelvis and genitals, and remains in hospital in a serious condition after undergoing surgery two times.The police operation in the case has now been named ‘Cristalino’ and considers the shooting to be drugs related.

Saturday, 11 October 2008

Australian backpacker Britt Lapthorne body found.

Body found off the coast of Dubrovnik is that of missing Australian backpacker Britt Lapthorne.Dubrovnik deputy police commander Ivan Kukrika has told a press conference that DNA analysis had confirmed the identity of the body. “DNA analysis has been completed in the capital, Zagreb,” he said.“According to the analysis, the body found in the sea on October 6th belongs to the missing Australian Britt Lapthorne.”
Ms Lapthorne, 21, from Melbourne, was last seen at a Dubrovnik nightclub in the early hours of September 18. Dubrovnik police crime squad chief Nikola Sakic said investigations were continuing into what happened to the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology (RMIT) student.“We still wait for the complete results of the analysis and therefore it is too early to say about the cause of the death.”A local fisherman found the body in a cove near the town centre on Monday. Ms Lapthorne’s father Dale and brother Darren are in Dubrovnik, having travelled to the coastal tourist town in a bid to find her after she went missing. Her mother Elke stayed in Melbourne.
Croatian police had previously said the body was unlikely to be Ms Lapthorne because it was too badly decomposed. Yesterday, a detective assigned to the case from Zagreb told the family reports that the remains were those of a young female between 150 and 160 centimetres tall with blonde hair were incorrect.Ms Lapthorne was 152cm tall with blonde hair. In a similar case three years ago, Croatian police said a body found in the sea had probably been there for several months before it was confirmed to be that of murdered British backpacker Peter Rushton. Mr Rushton had vanished just five weeks earlier

Tobago suspect arrested in the slaying of a Anna Sundsval and Oke Olsoon who were found hacked to death in their home

man was arrested Friday as a suspect in the slaying of a Swedish couple who were found hacked to death in their home in a tourist district of the normally placid southern Caribbean island of Tobago.The suspect, 32, was detained because he resembles a man seen leaving the home of the Swedish couple before the attack, which happened Thursday, said Assistant Commissioner of Police Fitzroy Frederick.
Authorities have not charged the suspect and investigators were still collecting DNA and other evidence at the crime scene, Frederick said.
Robbery appeared to be the motive in the slaying of Anna Sundsval and Oke Olsoon at their home in the Bon Accord area, said Nadir Khan, a senior police superintendent in the twin-island nation of Trinidad and Tobago.Sundsval, 62, and Olsoon, 73, were found with multiple slash wounds. The woman died at the scene and the man at a hospital later.The couple, who had visited the island for extended periods for years, arrived in Tobago on Sunday.Trinidad, the most industrialized island in the Caribbean, has struggled with violence for years, with more than 400 homicides so far in 2008. But Tobago is considered largely crime-free, with only two others slaying this year.

Friday, 3 October 2008

Mario Santafede, was arrested in Barcelona

An alleged member of the Camorra mafia based in Naples, 55 year old Mario Santafede, was arrested in Barcelona in a joint operation between Spanish and Italian police.
The man has been hiding in Spain for some years and has allegedly been directing drug running operations from Latin America from here. Cocaine runs from Colombia and Ecuador have been at the centre of his operations.He has now been handed over to the National Court in Madrid where he will appear shortly, probably facing extradition to Italy where he is on the list of the country’s most-wanted.Mario Santafede member of the Camorra, the Neapolitan mafia detained in the car park of a luxury apartment in the northeastern city of Barcelona

A mafia suspect on the list of 100 most wanted fugitives in Italy has been arrested in Barcelona, Italian police said today.

Mario Santafede, 55, a member of the Camorra, the Neapolitan mafia, was picked up in a joint raid carried out by Italian and Spanish police on a flat in a residential area of the city.Santafede, who is the object of an international arrest warrant, was sentenced to 14 years in prison in his absence for criminal association in connection with drug trafficking. He has been on the run since 2004.Spanish police working in cooperation with their Italian counterparts have arrested a suspected leader of Italy’s Camorra crime syndicate, the Interior Ministry said Saturday.Members of Spain’s elite special operations police moved in to detain Mario Santafede in the car park of a luxury apartment in the northeastern city of Barcelona on Friday evening, the ministry said in a statement.Santafede, 55, is wanted by Italian authorities for suspected cocaine smuggling from Colombia and Ecuador to the Netherlands, Belgium, Spain and Italy, the ministry said.
The suspect, who is thought by investigators to have close links with other Naples-based criminals, is also wanted in connection with at least three murders, the ministry said.Santafede, who was in possession of false Italian and British identity papers when arrested, had changed his appearance through exercise, the ministry said.
The suspect was expected to appear before a judge at the National Court in Madrid later Saturday prior to possible extradition to Italy, the ministry said.
Santafede is one several suspected Camorra leaders arrested in or near Barcelona in recent years. Police arrested Patrizio Bosti, who was on Italy’s list of 30 most-wanted criminals, while having dinner in Girona last month. Bosti, 49, had been on the run since 2005.
In February 2006, Raffaele Petrazzuolo was picked up in Barcelona and deported to Italy on suspicion of criminal activity and complicity with mob leaders.Also in 2006 a man identified only as Carmine R., 38, was detained in the seaside resort of Sitges, just outside Barcelona.

Mercantile Court number one in Madrid has ordered Ryanair not to cancel any reservations made on its flights via the Spanish travel portal Rumbo.

Mercantile Court number one in Madrid has ordered Ryanair not to cancel any reservations made on its flights via the Spanish travel portal Rumbo.The airline had last August insisted that reservations be made only via their own website and not through travel portals, threatening to cancel any reservations made elsewhere without notice. Now however the court has ordered the company to remove that clause from their website and to honour such bookings.

GANGWAR has broken out between Britain's most powerful cocaine gangs on the Spanish Costas.

GANGWAR has broken out between Britain's most powerful cocaine gangs in the Spanish Costas.A club security boss was shot five times in a bungled hit in the millionaires' paradise of Marbella this week as coke barons wrestle for control of the UK's £2billion-a-year trade.Last month a known contract killer was murdered in Spain while an Irish hitman was stabbed in the shoulder.In the latest attack, the security boss from Liverpool was blasted in the face, arms and pelvis by a man who is also thought to be from Merseyside.He remains in a serious condition in intensive care. The bloodbath follows the murder of Britain's top drugs trafficker, Colin "Smigger" Smith in Liverpool last November. Underworld sources say he was shot on the orders of two former associates, one known as the Bird of Prey. The pair are now trying to take control of his empire, which he ran out of the resort of Puerto Banus in Marbella.In the past month, gangsters loyal to Smith have sought revenge.
They include a shadowy group of former IRA hitmen known as The Cleaners.But before they could strike one of their gunmen was killed said to be by the Bird of Prey.

Kelly-Anne Corcoran was subjected to violence from her husband, Dermot McArdle

Kelly-Anne Corcoran was subjected to violence from her husband, Dermot McArdle, but stayed because she loved him, said Caroline Moran, Kelly-Anne's sister. She said there were "signs of violence" in the relationship and McArdle was aggressive with Kelly-Anne. Caroline Moran said that he sometimes pulled her hair and hit her.
"Kelly-Anne always obeyed him, she did it for a quiet life," Ms Moran said. "She loved Dermot, she was prepared to take it." McArdle denies throwing his wife of five years from the balcony of their Spanish hotel room on February 11, 2000. In an emotional address, Caroline Moran told the court of an incident after her sister's death when she was shopping with a friend in Drogheda and they picked up the accused's children in the car. While they were driving and talking, she said: "Mark [the couple's son] got very distressed and annoyed in himself and then Mark said: 'Daddy is a bold boy, Daddy hit Mammy and pushed Mammy down'.
"I didn't know what to think, I didn't know what happened," Ms Moran said. "I still don't know what happened, eight years later. I want justice for Kelly-Anne, I want to know what happened to her, why she came to Spain on a holiday and never came home." She also said her family had to "fight and plead" with McArdle to be allowed see Kelly-Anne in the coffin. Asked about the defendant's attitude after his wife's death, she said: "I never seen him cry, he showed no emotion, no feelings, no love towards Kelly-Anne." Ms Moran said at the funeral, she put her hand on her sister's head in the coffin and the accused came over and said: "get your effing hand off her head". She said when the accused gave her a prayer to say at the mass, he told her: "If you are going to cry, don't do it, I'll get someone else." In cross-examination, she said the couple were "very tight for money" as they were building a new house. Brigid Lowndes, another sister, told the court Kelly-Anne came to her house one night after a row with the defendant. She showed up in her nightdress, a jacket and no shoes. Ms Lowndes said at the funeral, she was putting a card into the coffin in memory of her other sister Kathy who died in a car accident, when the accused asked her: "what the f**k are you doing?" One night when they met, the accused told Ms Lowndes he was buying a new BMW. "I said why and he said it's what Kelly-Anne would have wanted," she told the court. She said McArdle was "drinking and partying" at the funeral and showed no emotion. Maria Nolan, a friend of Kelly-Anne, said she thought the accused had been "very domineering". Asked if Kelly-Anne ever displayed suicidal behaviour, she said: "absolutely not". She was shocked the accused became "so involved with a new car" after his wife's death. Peter Moran, Kelly-Anne's brother-in-law, said at the hospital in Malaga the accused told him that, "Kelly-Anne did not mean it and that she threw herself over the balcony."
When the couple's child Mark said, "Daddy pushed Mammy," Mr Moran "was confused" and "didn't know whether Dermot was right and the child had misunderstood.
"I phoned Dermot McArdle a couple of weeks later and asked him to explain it to the family. He said to me I am not f**king telling those people, he said you tell them," Mr Moran said. Earlier the court had heard dramatic evidence as five words, uttered by a child hung in the air: "Daddy bold, Daddy pushed Mammy." A hushed Spanish court heard that Mark McArdle, aged just four at the time, spoke these words days after his mother Kelly-Anne's fatal plunge from a Costa del Sol hotel balcony. Members of the Corcoran family and their friends also described the accused as "aggressive" towards his wife during their marriage and unemotional after her death. They alleged he at first said Kelly-Anne "threw herself" off the balcony, then gave different versions of what happened on the night of her fall. McArdle, of Haggardstown, Dundalk, denies murdering his wife Kelly-Anne (28) at the four-star Don Pepe hotel in Marbella, insisting it was an accident. She was rushed to hospital after the horrific plunge but died the following day

Madrid authorities outlawed the Latin Kings in 2007, liberal Catalonia took the opposite approach, giving them the status of a cultural association.

Spanish branch of the Latin Kings was launched in 2000 by the young Ecuadorian Eric Velastegui, known as King Wolverine, who is now serving a prison sentence for rape.
US leaders of the Latin Kings visiting Spain, however, have downplayed the group's violent reputation, and evidence from the north-eastern region of Catalonia suggests that such gangs have the potential of being transformed into constructive social forces. The Latin Kings' big rival in Spain are the Netas, a gang founded in the prisons of Puerto Rico in the 1970s. Other gangs include Dominican Don't Play (DDP), many of whose members come from the Dominican Republic. The Madrid DDP has begun to sell drugs and acquired firearms, the daily El Pais reported. Recently, evidence has even emerged of the presence in Catalonia of the Mara Salvatrucha and the Mara 18, Central American groups known for their extreme violence. In the Madrid region alone, the number of gang members tripled in three years to about 1,300 by 2007, police estimated. Nearly 300 of them were regarded as violent. The main gangs, which are present in several cities across Spain, are hierarchically structured, tribe-like organizations. They are characterized by mystical symbols, an ethos of religiosity and machoism, and an ideology of defending the Latin American identity against an environment perceived as racist and hostile. The Latin Kings, for instance, wear rap-style clothes and black-and-gold bead necklaces. Their symbol of a five-point crown represents respect, honesty, unity, knowledge and love.
The gangs tend to place women in a secondary role, with the Latin Kings as the only one to have a female section. Many of the gangs have a double nature, with leisure activities such as football alternating with robberies or extortion which new members can be ordered to commit as a kind of initiation rite. Dozens of gang members have been detained on charges ranging from kidnappings and threats to attacks and killings. Most of the violence takes place between rival gangs, but former members have also told courts about the beatings faced by those who break the internal rules. "We were told to pay 1,200 euros (1,700 dollars), or we'd be burned alive," two girls who had tried to leave the Latin Kings told a Madrid judge.
The growth of the gangs is based on the rapid increase of Latin American immigration to Spain. The overall number of immigrants has soared from 1.8 per cent of the Spanish population in 1990 to more than 10 per cent. The largest groups include 420,000 Ecuadorians and 260,000 Colombians. "Immigrants never see their children, because they work 23 hours a day. The kids are on the street, in search of a (new) family," King Mission, a US representative of the Latin Kings, explained during a visit to Spain. Gangs like the Latin Kings also give a sense of purpose and self-esteem to youths who may come from neighbourhoods riddled with gang violence in their own countries, grew up without their parents who emigrated before them, and who are now struggling with the difficulties of adapting to a foreign culture.
In 2007, Latin street gangs did not commit any killings in Spain for the first time in several years. The decline was attributed to police crackdowns and, in some regions, to attempts to integrate the gangs into Spanish society.
While the conservative Madrid authorities outlawed the Latin Kings in 2007, liberal Catalonia took the opposite approach, giving them the status of a cultural association. Representatives of the Latin Kings and Netas even visited the regional parliament, explaining to legislators that they were planning to make joint musical recordings to bury their hostilities. International experts on street gangs have hailed Catalonia's ground-breaking approach, but it has not entirely eradicated inter-gang violence.

Wednesday, 1 October 2008

The condition of Marvin Herbert who was shot five times in the street in Puerto Banús last week, is making progress

The condition of the British man, Marvin Herbert who was shot five times in the street in Puerto Banús on September 24 last week, is making progress in hospital according to sources at the Costa del Sol Hospital in Marbella.
Marvin Herbert is thought to have been the victim of a drug related settling of scores. He underwent surgery for the second time on Friday after being shot in his right eye, right leg, right arm, pelvis and genitals.Government sub-delegate, Hilario López Luna, says it’s thought the shooting was a drug related settling of scores. Police have already searched the victim’s home in Cancelada and say they will question him when he is released from hospital.The shooter, described as being young with a strong complexion, is still at large.Meanwhile the alleged shooter at an incident in the Nikki Club discotec has declared in court and been sent to prison on remand. He is also British and in his 30’s.


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