Monday, 31 October 2011

Welcome to Oculto Café – Cordoba’s infamous Satanic saloon.


GLASSES shoot across tabletops, busty vamps serve blood-red cocktails, and twisted locals raise a toast to an image of Aleister Crowley. Welcome to Oculto Café – Cordoba’s infamous Satanic saloon. The bar is situated in a maze of narrow, winding streets in the ancient ‘Old Town’ district. Stepping outside for a Marlboro, I scan my surroundings. It’s a chilly, moonlit night and the streets are deserted. Strain your ears, however, and you’ll hear muffled voices coming from dark balconies. It’s like a scene from Interview with the Vampire. As I re-enter, the room falls silent. A cross-eyed chap stares at me… well, I think it’s me… it’s hard to tell. Had my gothic guy-liner run, or had he caught a whiff of fresh meat? In this insular atmosphere, I feel as welcome as Gary Glitter at Tivoli World! Forget fruit machines and pool tables, it’s ouija boards and tarot cards that keep these punters amused. A little weakened, I seize a newspaper and hide in the corner. Alongside ads for ‘Black Angels’ and ‘Colombian Swallowers’, the classifieds are swarming with clairvoyants. I’m shocked! Isn’t Spain supposed to be a God-fearing country? But the truth is, up until the Inquisition (1478), Iberia was a hotbed of magic and sorcery. With the coming of Catholicism, however, mystics – including ‘witches’ and ‘healers’ were round-up and executed. For survival’s sake, Spaniards severed their ties with the ‘other side.’ Today, however, there is growing evidence that Spain is returning to its supernatural roots. Church-going is down (just 14.4%), and stories of Satanism are everywhere. In March 2011, an Almerian church was littered with satanic scrawls. Investigators claimed that the site had been used for a “black mass.” Tenerife’s Arona Cemetery has also been targeted by sinister cults. In 2008, graves were desecrated and animals sacrificed during “bizarre nocturnal rituals”. For sceptics, it’s easy to blame rebellious youth or drug-addicts for these atrocities. However, as someone who’s experienced dark forces – first hand – I try to keep an open mind. It all started in 2001 when I was filming a documentary at Devon’s Berry Pomeroy. In the castle grounds, I indivertibly captured an inhuman figure on camera.  Whilst replaying the footage to BBC colleagues, the office computers went wild. In 2009, I moved my family to a 15th century cottage on the West Pennine Moors. Unbeknown to us, our ‘dream house’ was built on a Quaker burial site. During our six-month stay – we endured stamping noises, icy chills and orbs zipping round the lounge. At night, the constant thumping would deprive us of sleep, and we’d trudge into work like a couple of zombies. However, my most recent spooking occurred right here in Andalucia. One evening, I watched a can of Asturiana cider move sideways, hover and then drop off the table! Earlier that day, an old drinking buddy had been buried in Devon – was this his final ‘chin-chin’? Whatever it was, it scared the bejesus out of my missus and she hasn’t slept properly since. Two weeks on, and we’re sitting in Oculto, trying not to blush at orgy paintings. After some Dutch courage, I enquire about a séance at the bar. A black-toothed midget points towards a battered wooden door. Timidly, I wander down the corridor and knock on wood. It’s opened by a raven-haired gypsy. She’s both beautiful and grotesque: Penelope Cruz’s mum meets the Bride of Chucky. Without speaking – she beckons me in with a long, black talon. With low ceilings, purple walls and an absence of windows – the room is claustrophobic and unsettling. Under flickering candlelight, the Victorian death portraits seem to eyeball you from the walls. But it’s the cold air and fetid stench that’s really sending shivers down my spine. The woman glides over to a monolithic Ouija board and orders me to sit. She lays out a clutch of cards, including The Hanged Man, The Fool, The Stig, Jeremy Clarkson, Dog the Bounty Hunter, The Archbishop of Canterbury and Boy George. Okay… I lied about Boy George – but it’s all the scary ones! Suddenly, my stomach churns and I shout ‘Stop!’ I apologise for wasting her time – but I’ve got the heebie-jeebies. A floating cider is hardly The Ring – so why risk opening a fresh can of worms? I chat to Jose, a Pepe Reina lookalike in his late 20s. Around us, weirdoes chuck darts at an image of the Pope (only joking….it’s Desmond Tutu!) Jose is erudite and speaks fine English. Over Osbourne brandies, I pose the question: “So….Are you a Satanist?” “Of course”! Jose replies: Usually, I’d grab my coat, but by now, I’m immune to the madness. After dispelling myths of “priest-beating” and “baby-eating”, Jose insists that Satanists are “Perfectly normal.” Apparently, the only difference is they choose “indulgence over abstinence’, and prefer “vengeance” to forgiveness. Oh…..and they enjoy kinky sex and coke-snorting – but hey… so does the cast of Skins. By 1am I’m craving a Horlicks and a late night snack. I thank Jose and wish him a “hell-of-a-life.” We leave Occulto and hot-foot it to the Corredera for a greasy kebab. After filling our faces, we clamber into a taxi. We’re only 10-minutes from the hotel – but I’m bloated on beer and lamb offal. Back at the room, Jose’s words haunt me. Having spent the last five hours binge-drinking, ogling rude pictures and eating crap – could I be accused of “indulgence”? If Christianity equals modesty, chastity and turning the other cheek, what about all those times I’ve bought designer togs, belted a thug or lusted over lesbians? Perhaps I’m more Satanic than I thought? By bedtime, I’d seen no demons, virgin sacrifices or people snacking on goats’ head soup. This said, not everyone was as friendly as Jose, and the yokels at the bar seemed quite menacing. I’ve yet to decide whether Satanists are ordinary folk – daring to be different, or psychopaths to be avoided at all costs. I DO know, however, that pentangles are not for me. For one – I like animals too much to put their heads on sticks – and secondly, I root for the “goodies” when it kicks off on Buffy. Nevertheless, I enjoyed my time at Occulto and found the experience enlightening. Whatever they are (or aren’t), there’s a pub full of them in Cordoba, and if you ever feel like taking a walk on the wild side, you know where to head.

Body found in boot of crashed car on Alicante motorway


Firemen called out to an accident on the A-31 Alicante-Madrid motorway early on Monday found an unidentified body in the boot of a car which had crashed into the central reservation at Sax and then burst into flames. The body was partially burnt but appears to be that of a man. Reports indicate that the deceased had been tied up and gagged. No other occupants were found at the site and the Civil Guard are now trying to identify the victim and the cause of death.

Thursday, 27 October 2011

Fresh appeal launched to find man living abroad accused of murdering Nantwich man


NEW appeal has been launched to capture a man wanted in connection with the murder of a Stapeley market trader. Christopher Guest More, 33, of Lymm, near Warrington, is one of 10 individuals wanted in the latest campaign being run by Crimestoppers and the Serious Organised Crime Agency (SOCA). He is suspected to have been part of a gang involved in the torture and murder of market trader and cannabis farmer Brian Waters, who was killed in a barn in Tabley, near Knutsford, in June 2003. Three of his alleged accomplices, Otis Lee Matthews, James Stuart Raven and John Godfrey Wilson, received life sentences for their part in the brutal attack. More is also sought in connection with the attempted murder of Suleman Razak and for the alleged false imprisonment and assault of other victims present during the incident. It is believed he fled to Spain just 24 hours after the incident. The appeal is part of crime charity Crimestoppers’ ‘Operation Captura’ campaign, which is trying to locate wanted criminals abroad. Crimestoppers’ regional manager Gary Murray, said: “This extremely heinous crime saw an individual lose their life and the person responsible needs to be tried for their actions. “I’d urge anyone with information to contact Crimestoppers on our 0800 555 111 number or use our online form on our website – we guarantee your anonymity.” Detective Chief Inspector Andrew Smith said: “Eight years on, we still remain determined and committed to finding and arresting Christopher More for his alleged involvement in the brutal murder of Brian Waters. “Cheshire Police will not close this case until the family of Brian Waters sees justice done.”

Tuesday, 25 October 2011

Boland launches new radio station on same frequency as Heart


HEART FM bosses have denied any bad feeling after controversial DJ Maurice Boland took over their coastal frequency for a new radio venture. The self-styled ‘Mr Marbella’ has left the station and plans to launch his new business later this month. “As far as we are concerned he can have it, it was an amicable agreement,” owner Pat Jay told the Olive Press. But other sources have revealed that there has been ‘considerable tension’ over the fallout, which left Heart FM ‘retrenching’ back inland. “There have been various issues and Pat and husband Lee have been left shattered,” said a friend. Now Boland, 62 – who was sacked from his previous job at Talk Radio Europe (TRE) after an alleged affair with a teenager – is setting up a studio at Estepona’s Kempinski Hotel. According to sources, he has managed to acquire a retail space to work out of and claims to have some big backers. “He has been approaching presenters at other radio stations, but is not offering a lot of money,” said a source.

Thousands of Telefonica clients disconnected for 5 hours


THOUSANDS of Telefonica clients on the Costa del Sol were left without service for five hours. The problem, which affected clients in Marbella, Ronda, Casares and Estepona, last Friday was due to a fault with a commutation network system, and also caused minor problems in Malaga City. According to Telefonica, it affected 20 per cent of communications in Malaga province, however, it did not affect clients with smartphones, which account for 65 per cent of clients in the province. Consumer group Facua said compensation for this can amount to the average of the amount charged over the past three months or five times the monthly tariff calculated proportionately by the time the problem lasted.

accused denied the rape accusation in court and said he killed the victim after she threatened to denounce him

The accused at his arrest - EFEThe accused at his arrest - EFE
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The trial began at the Girona provincial court on Monday of Santiago Víctor Díaz Silva, a Uruguayan waiter who is charged with the rape and murder of the 23 year old Italian tourist, Federica Squarise, in Lloret de Mar at the end of June 2008.

He faces a possible 30 years in prison.

Federica’s body was found half buried on waste ground just a few days after she had arrived in the town on holiday.

The accused admitted to killing the victim in court on Monday, but denied the rape accusation, claiming that Federica had changed her mind and threatened to denounce him when they were on the point of having consensual sex. He said that he stopped, and then heard a voice in his head telling him to kill her. ‘I went crazy at that moment,’ he said, ‘I put one hand around her neck and at the same time stuffed clothes that were lying nearby into her mouth’.

He fled the area but was arrested ten days later, three days after her body was found.

The defence have asked that his consumption of drugs and alcohol, his fit of rage and his cooperation with the authorities all be taken into account and that he be sentenced to five years in prison.

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Thursday, 20 October 2011

Gardai in Spain for 'Fat' Freddie handover deal


DUBLIN detectives have travelled to Spain to negotiate the handover of gangster 'Fat' Freddie Thompson. Sources say that gardai are spending a number of days with their Spanish counterparts examining evidence against Thompson. "This is standard procedure in a case like this," a source said. Thompson is due to appear before the High Court today where he is expected to apply for bail after being remanded in custody on Friday when he was arrested on a European Arrest Warrant. laundering Spanish authorities want to extradite him to Spain and they allege that Thompson operated as a bodyguard and chauffeur for the Christy Kinahan drugs organisation, which was targeted in a massive international police operation in May, 2010, known as Operation Shovel. Spanish authorities say that the Kinahan organisation is heavily involved in gun crime, drug trafficking and money laundering through a complex network of companies. Sources have revealed that in the weeks before his arrest, Thompson had fallen out of favour with the Kinahan mob -- organisation who his gang has been sourcing drugs from for over a decade. A European Arrest Warrant has also been issued for Thompson's close pal Gary Hutch (30) but gardai have not been able to find him. The Herald has previously revealed that Thompson's arrest warrant contains explosive details about a phone call tapped by Spanish police in December, 2009, between 'Fat' Freddie and Hutch in which the two criminals discuss firearms. The warrant also alleged that 'Fat' Freddie and Hutch travelled together to Portugal in November, 2009 and Amsterdam in May, 2010, to organise drug shipments. The warrant also states that Hutch and Thompson lived together in Spain and were "right-hand men" of Daniel Kinahan -- the son of Ireland's richest drugs trafficker Christy Kinahan. Also mentioned on the warrant is Ross Browning (27) from north inner city Dublin who is alleged to have collected a major Irish criminal from Malaga Airport in May, 2010, in a car which was also regularly used by the notorious criminal Hutch. violence Browning was one of around 30 people arrested by police investigating Kinahan's drug organisation last year. He was released without charge after being questioned for a number of days by Spanish authorities. Since being sent to Cloverhill Prison on Friday, Thompson has been placed in the protection unit in the jail because of fears that he may become a victim of a feud related attack or that he may orchestrate violence within the prison. It is understood he has had no visitors in jail.

Spanish town rushes to wed gays before election


Spanish town is offering gay couples fast-track marriages before a likely November election win by the conservative Popular Party, which opposes same-sex marriage. The mayor of the small southwestern town of Jun, Jose Antonio Rodriguez, said he offered the service across Spain after hearing from gay couples fearing a change in the law after the November 20 vote. “People are very afraid, they are starting to realise that there could be a real change and they will lose a hard-fought right,” the Socialist mayor told AFP. “I felt it was important to reassure people and find a way so that people who want to get married could do so,” he said. Rodriguez said the town had received 52 requests from same-sex couples wanting to be married in the past week after he announced on Twitter he would offer speedy gay marriages before the general election. The town of just over 4,000 residents carried out just 11 same-sex marriages during all of 2010. The wedding applications are handled entirely online in about five days, complete with marriage certificate delivered by e-mail. The mayor said he had made the town’s park available for wedding ceremonies but the vast majority of couples opt for the electronic marriage and would not need to set foot in Jun. Under Socialist Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero, Spain has been on the vanguard of Europe in terms of gay rights. In 2005 — a year after Zapatero was first elected — Spain passed a law to allow same-sex marriages, making it only the third member of the European Union after Belgium and the Netherlands to do so. The law, part of the ruling Socialists’ aggressive agenda for social reform, also lets gay couples adopt children and inherit each other’s property. Since then more than 20,000 gay couples have tied the knot. The conservative Popular Party, which is riding high in the polls, has appealed the gay marriage law to Spain’s Constitutional Court. Popular Party leader Mariano Rajoy has pledged to reform the same-sex marriage law if elected but as the general election has neared he has stressed that any legislative action will come only after the court issues its ruling. Polls show two-thirds of Spaniards back same-sex marriage, one of the highest levels of support in Europe.

Choose your petrol station carefully in Malaga Province


UP to €4.50 can be saved be choosing the cheapest petrol station to fill up. The average price per litre for unleaded petrol in Malaga Province is now up to €1.34, 13 per cent more than the same time last year, according to the Ministry of Industry, Tourism and Commerce and the highest in the whole of Spain. Diesel is €1.29 on average, 16 per cent more than October 2010. The cheapest place to fill up with 95 octane is Distreax-22, Velez-Malaga, at €1.29 per litre. The most expensive place to fill up with 95 octane is E.S. El Torcal, Villanueva de la Concepcion (Malaga), at €1.38 per litre. The cheapest place to fill up with diesel is Galp, Antequera, at €1.24 per litre. The most expensive place to fill up with diesel is Cepsa, Manilva at €1.31 per litre.

Saturday, 15 October 2011

BODY discovered on a property in Mijas is that of missing Finnish teenager, Jenna Lepomaki


BODY discovered on a property in Mijas is that of missing Finnish teenager, Jenna Lepomaki, Malaga National Police have confirmed. Nevertheless, an autopsy and DNA tests are being carried out on the body, which police are 99 per cent certain belongs to Jenna. Four people have been arrested, three of them in Finland, thanks to a joint operation between Finnish and Spanish police. The 19-year-old came to the Costa del Sol on holiday invited by two Finnish men, aged 18 and 20, who she had met online, as the mother of one of them lived in Mijas. Her family attempted to dissuade her from coming, but the men paid for her trip and she arrived on June 20. She spent the first few days in a hostel in Fuengirola, but when the young man’s mother, 37, and her partner, 47 and also Finnish, went away, Jenna moved into the house. In July, her family reported her missing in Finland, and this was communicated to the Spanish police. They discovered that the teenager had reported them to the Guardia Civil in Mijas because they had allegedly attacked and threatened her when she refused to transport cocaine from Spain to Finland. She also reported that they had taken away her passport. From June 29, her mobile phone was turned off. Spanish police discovered that the two men had left Spain, travelled to Ireland and then back to Finland, where they have now been arrested, and focused their investigation on them both for their involvement in Jenna’s disappearance and their possible links to cocaine trafficking. Last Thursday, the Spanish police searched the house in Los Espartales area of Mijas, where the girl had been staying which was hired by the mother’s partner. He was arrested, and the two young children living with him were taken into the care of the Junta de Andalucia. She was also arrested in Finland. The search later continued in the area surrounding the house, where an almost mummified body was found wrapped in a sleeping bag hidden amongst some bushes and leaves. The body was missing both legs and one arm. Part of the arm was found in a barrel located on a construction site nearby. They report that it appears she was killed inside the house and the killers attempted to cut her body into pieces and then burn her remains, but having failed to do so, they hid it.

Spewing volcano forces Spain to close island port


Spanish authorities say activity by an underwater volcano has led them to close access to a port on El Hierro island. Ships have been ordered away from waters around La Restinga and aircraft have been banned from flying over the island's southern tip. The port's 600 residents were evacuated Tuesday after volcanic activity began. The regional government of the Canary Islands says scientists have detected airborne volcanic fragments called pyroclasts rising from the sea off La Restinga. The government said it awaited scientific reports on the danger posed by pyroclasts, but a research vessel that was collecting samples there has been ordered to desist. TV channel La Sexta reported Saturday that journalists also have been told to clear the area.

SPANISH AUTHORITIES are seeking to extradite a Dublin man, Freddy Thompson

SPANISH AUTHORITIES are seeking to extradite a Dublin man, Freddy Thompson, who they allege is a member of a international criminal gang involved in trafficking drugs and weapons.

Mr Thompson (30), with an address at Loreto Road, Maryland, Dublin 8, was arrested by gardaí at that address yesterday afternoon on foot of a European extradition warrant issued by the authorities in Malaga, Spain in September 2010 and then brought before the High Court.

The court heard the Spanish authorities are seeking his extradition on grounds alleging Mr Thompson is a member of a criminal organisation whose members include Irish, British and Spanish nationals.

The warrant further claims Frederick James Thompson, said to have moved to Spain in 2008, is a member of an organisation alleged to have laundered the proceeds of illegal drugs and weapons trafficking through a complex network of companies.

It is claimed Mr Thompson’s role was to secure weapons for the organisation and that he acted as a bodyguard and a chauffeur for the gang, based on Spain’s Costa Del Sol.

The Spanish authorities also allege Mr Thompson is an associate of and has worked for other known criminals, some of whom were described as good friends of his.

It is also claimed in the warrant that ongoing surveillance of Mr Thompson conducted by police in a number of countries revealed that on dates between 2008 and 2010 he travelled to locations including Morocco and Amsterdam.

It is claimed he travelled either in the company of or to meet gang members or other criminals, and the trips were to organise criminal activity including the shipment of drugs.

It is further claimed Mr Thompson has no movable or immovable assets, such as property, in Spain, and no legitimate means to support his lifestyle.

Yesterday, Sgt Sean Fallon of the Garda extradition unit told the court Mr Thompson was arrested shortly before 3pm at Loreto Road. Sgt Fallon said when the charges contained in the warrant were read and a copy of the warrant was handed to Mr Thompson, he replied: “I can’t read, I am not taking that.”

Mr Thompson was then taken to Kevin Street Garda station.

Mr Justice Michael Peart said he was satisfied the individual before the court was the person sought in the warrant. He told Mr Thompson he had a right to professional legal advice as well as the right to consent to surrender at any time during the extradition process to the Spanish authorities.

While no application for bail was made yesterday, Mr Thompson’s lawyers indicated one would be made in the future. The State indicated it would object to any such application.

Mr Thompson’s lawyers told the court they would be applying for legal aid under the Attorney General’s scheme.

Mr Thompson was remanded in custody by Mr Justice Peart to next Wednesday’s sitting of the High Court.

British man arrested with contraband tobacco in Cádiz


Guardia Civil has arrested a British man on the quay at Cádiz port after 5,800 cartons of contraband tobacco from the canaries were found in a false bottom of the van he was driving. A statement was released from the Guardia Civil saying the arrest took place last Monday when searches were carried out on vehicles which had arrived from the Canaries. The unit from the UAR, the Risks Analysis Unit, which is made up jointly by the Guardia Civil and the Agencia Tributaria, earmarked the van for an exhaustive inspection. They found the cigarettes behind wooden panels in the van which had been placed on the floor walls and even the ceiling of the vehicle. The arrested man has been named as 39 year old G.M.H. from Liverpool. He will appear before the Instruction Court Four in Cádiz.

Nine arrested for growing marihuana inside a luxury property in Zaragoza


Nine people have been arrested and 2,500 marihuana plants recovered from a luxury villa in a village of Zaragoza. The electrical installation to heat and supply light to the plants used as much power as 50 homes, and an illegal connection had been established to the grid. The facility had the capacity to produce 1,500 kilos of cannabis a year and had been established following the ‘Holland Model` of optimising plant growth by controlling the hours of light the plants receive. The chalet was found in Caspe, Zaragoza, and the nine arrested are accused of distributing all types of drugs including cocaine, hashish, amphetamine, methamphetamine and marihuana to bars and clubs in Tarragona. The swoop is the result of investigations which started five months ago. Six searches were carried out in different homes in Caspe, Tortosa, Amposta and Santa Bárbara where 40 grams of cocaine and different amounts of speed and crystal were recovered along with 11,500 € in cash.

Friday, 14 October 2011

Estepona cracks down on street prostitution


Estepona Town Hall has drawn up a new by-law which includes measures against street prostitution with a ban on offering, requesting, negotiating for or accepting paid sexual services in public spaces, particularly within 200 metres of residential or commercial centres and schools. Fines are envisaged for those who fail to comply with the regulations. Councillor Ana Velasco told Europa Press that the by-law is expected to be approved at the next council meeting. Assistance and advice will also be available from social services for prostitutes who work locally, especially for those who want up to give up the profession. The by-law also covers other matters such as the practice of youngsters drinking in the street, graffiti, unauthorised street peddling and the responsibility of dog owners to clear up after their pets.

British fraudster arrested in Torrevieja


The Spanish National Police has arrested a British man who is wanted by the authorities in the United States for a fraud. Named as 61 year old R.B.A. he was arrested in Torrevieja, Alicante, when he was carrying out some transactions in a real estate company. The US fraud dates from March 1999 when the Briton was the main owner of a company which mis-invested the firm’s retirement funds. He and others in the company invested part of the fund in treasury bonds, but the rest was transferred to personal accounts. The arrest was carried out by agents of the UDEV from the Alicante Police Station, coordinated by the fugitive location group of the Judicial Police.

Thursday, 13 October 2011

Man arrested in connection with body found on Marbella roadside


A man has been arrested in connection with the death of the 15 year old Moroccan whose body was found by the roadside between Marbella and Ronda. The arrested man lives on a nearby finca to where the body was found, and has claimed that the 15 year old was continuously stealing from him. Government Sub Delegate for Málaga, Hilario López Luna, said that the National Police arrested the Spaniard on Tuesday. The 15 year old Moroccan is known to have had a police record. The arrested man said that he surprised the Moroccan on his land and shot him in the face with a shotgun. He then moved the body to the roadside. He is expected to appear in court shortly.

Tuesday, 11 October 2011

Spain health service chokes as austerity tightens


Medical suppliers haven't been paid for as much as two years, emergency rooms have been shut down and doctors in Catalonia have been told to accept a pay cut or 1,500 medical residents will lose their jobs. Spain's treasured public health care system has become the latest victim of the euro zone debt crisis. "We haven't been paid, but there's nothing we can do about it. We need the contracts, so we're just going to have to wait it out," said a representative for a cleaning company who did not want his or the firm's name used for fear of a backlash. The company, which says it is owed hundreds of millions of euros by the government of the Castilla-La Mancha region south of Madrid, is one of dozens of providers of everything from surgical swabs to disinfectants struggling to pay workers as Spain's regions delay payments to meet tight deficit targets. The debt-burdened autonomous regions' spending cuts are a tangible sign of the present and future pain as Spain works to meet ambitious deficit reduction goals pledged to the European Union in the midst of an economic downturn. Spain's political parties have kept their positions on the issue vague ahead of November 20 general elections, but even the most passionate defenders of the current system agree there is scope for cost savings and more efficiency. Spain's conservative opposition, the People's Party (PP), which is expected to win in November, will likely cut into social welfare programs the incumbent Socialists have left untouched. But even the Socialists now say they can find ways to reduce health spending without harming services. Examples include forcing car insurance firms to pay for the treatment of accident victims and sending foreign governments the bill when their citizens use Spanish hospitals. 900-DAY WAITS Multinational pharmaceutical firm Roche says the Castilla y Leon region north of Madrid is more than 900 days behind on its bills, which has raised fears here that the company could start withholding drugs for some hospitals as it did in Greece, which is fighting off bankruptcy. Spain's central government makes yearly transfers of income tax revenue to the country's 17 autonomous regions, which are in charge of administering health care and schools. But the regions are being forced to make drastic budget cuts after piling up debt during Spain's property boom, the collapse of which in 2008 sent the country into recession and unemployment soaring to more than 20 percent. As the regions squeeze spending wherever they can, what they owe to companies that provide health care services and products has risen 42 percent in a year to more than 4 billion euros, according to the Spanish Federation of Healthcare Technology, known as Fenin. AT Kearney consultancy calculates the system's long-term deficit is 15 billion euros, a heavy burden for a government whose borrowing costs have soared in the euro zone debt crisis. Margarita Alfonsel, secretary general of Fenin, says small companies in her federation "are suffering to an alarming extent due to the liquidity squeeze." She said some will have to lay off staff or go into bankruptcy. The average number of days providers must wait for payment has risen in the past year to 415 days, from 285 days, she said. "It was unacceptable before. Now it's totally incomprehensible," said Joaquin del Rincon, Spanish representative of Boston Scientific, which provides medical and surgical instruments to Spanish hospitals. "We have to explain to our central offices that this is an ongoing problem in Spain made worse by the crisis," he said.

Possible Drug Connection Moroccan teenager found dead on a roadside in Marbella


The National Police have identified a body which was found on the hard shoulder of the road between the Nueva Andalucía area of Marbella and Ronda on Monday as that of a 15 year old Moroccan boy who has been named by his initials, T.A. Despite the identification from finger prints there is no report of a missing person. It’s thought that his body could have been thrown from a moving vehicle as it passed the access road to the La Quinta urbanisation. The body, which was dressed in sports gear, was removed from the scene for autopsy as the investigation continues to determine the exact cause of his death. However reports indicate that he had suffered shotgun wounds to the face.

British man mugged in La Línea


Local police in La Línea de la Concepción have reported that last Sunday they arrested three local men, 17 year old J.Z.B., 20 year old L.M.L.F. and 22 year old J.R.P. in connection with a robbery with violence. The police were patrolling the Calle Gibraltar in the town at 0630am close to a discotec, when they were approached by an 18 year old British man who told them that his father was being beaten up in the Princesa Sofía park. On their arrival at the scene they saw a 63 year old British man on the ground, with injuries to his face and body. They called the health services and were told by the victim how three youngsters had attacked him and stolen his mobile phone, passport and tobacco. Local police informed the National Police and a search of the area found the three in the Bellavista district. Once back at the police station the three are reported to have confessed and the stolen items were found in their pockets.

Four people arrested for murder of Finnish woman in Mijas


Four people have been arrested in connection with a murder committed on the Costa del Sol this summer, after a body was found on an isolated property in Mijas last week. It’s believed to be that of 19 year old Jenna Lepomaki, a woman from Finland who arrived in Fuengirola for a holiday in June and was reported missing the following month after she failed to return home to her family. DNA testing is to be carried out to confirm the identification. She is reported to have travelled to the Costa del Sol at the invitation of friends she met on line and who paid for the trip. El País indicates that it has now emerged that she placed a complaint with the Spanish Civil Guard while in Spain for the threats her friends made against her after she refused to act as a courier to smuggle cocaine back into Finland from Spain. Investigations in Finland led Spain’s National Police to the property in Mijas, owned by a Finnish man, where the body was found, partially dismembered, wrapped up in a sleeping bag which was half covered over in a mound of leaves. Part of a missing arm was found inside a barrel which was being used by workmen working on site to renovate the swimming pool. Four Finnish nationals have been arrested in connection with the murder. The man who owns the Mijas property is in custody as a suspected accessory and, in Finland, the two friends she was travelling with in Málaga have also been arrested, as well as the mother of one of the two.

Dead Moroccan dumped on Marbella roadside


BODY found on a Marbella roadside with shotgun wounds to the face has been identified as a 15-year-old Moroccan boy. The youngster was found near the La Quinta urbanisation on the Marbella to Ronda road on Monday, with reports indicating he had been thrown from a moving vehicle. An investigation is now underway, with an autopsy being held to determine the cause of death. Despite being identified by his fingerprints, there is no report of a missing person. It comes as four people have been arrested in connection with the murder of a Finnish woman whose partially dismembered body was found at a villa in Mijas. Jenna Lepomaki, 19, is thought to have been killed after refusing to help smuggle cocaine between Spain and Finland.

alleged members of an organized network trafficking with weapons and drugs were arrested in Granada.

All the detainees are Spanish and are aged between 35 and 45.
The operation began several months ago focused on locating illegal weapons which had allegedly been sold by the network. The police also found sophisticated cannabis greenhouses where more than 2,000 plants were seized. The electrical supply to the greenhouses had been obtained illegally.
Thirteen properties in Granada province were searched, and more than €130,000 in cash, as well as 14 firearms, ammunition, and four high range vehicles were seized.

Polish woman arrested in Marbella for murder


POLISH woman was arrested in Marbella for her alleged involvement in a murder in Valencia in August 2009. The victim was Djordje Kenecevic, who was shot and burned inside his car in Almussafes (Valencia). The 49-year-old woman, identified as Danuta G.K. but also known as Renate B. and other identities, was arrested on the Palm Beach urbanization in Marbella. She had been identified as a suspect some months ago but was only located in Malaga last week after using one of her false identities to travel within Europe. She is a known drug smuggler and was wanted by the German authorities, according to press reports. She was set free with charges of covering up the murder, but later taken to prison under the orders of the National Court as there is also a request for extradition to Germany. The extradition process will have to wait, as the crime which she will have to respond for in Spain is more serious and carries a longer sentence. Djordje Kenecevic is believed to have been killed by members of the gang he belonged to. Most of them, like him, were sailors who took advantage of their work with Europe’s main shipping company to transport packages with up to five kilos of cocaine between European ports. The detainee is considered to have been one of the leaders of the organization, and is the second person arrested in this case.

Bank manager arrested for robbing his own bank


Bank manager has been arrested in Vitoria after trying to rob his own branch. The man arranged for his brother to attack the bank, but things immediately went wrong when several people saw the brother putting on a wig and false moustache sitting in a car round the corner from the bank, and alerted the authorities. The man then left the bank by car but was found later by the police who found a wig, beard, moustache and false teeth in a bag he was carrying, along with gloves and a fake pistol. The car he was driving was found to belong to the bank manager, his brother. When the police asked the bank manager what had happened he initially said that a man had come into the bank to ask about several products and left shortly after, but other clients and employees said that it was ‘evident that the man was in disguise’. Both men have been arrested by the Basque regional police, la Ertzaintza, who said that the brothers came up with the idea because of the financial difficulties they were in. The arrests took place on Friday, but the Basque Government interior department only released news on Monday. The 60 and 53 year old are accused of attempted robbery with intimidation and will appear in court shortly.

Moroccan teenager found dead on a roadside in Marbella


National Police have identified a body which was found on the hard shoulder of the road between the Nueva Andalucía area of Marbella and Ronda on Monday as that of a 15 year old Moroccan boy who has been named by his initials, T.A. Despite the identification from finger prints there is no report of a missing person. It’s thought that his body could have been thrown from a moving vehicle as it passed the access road to the La Quinta urbanisation. The body, which was dressed in sports gear, was removed from the scene for autopsy as the investigation continues to determine the exact cause of his death. However reports indicate that he had suffered shotgun wounds to the face.

Monday, 10 October 2011

Spain may exhume Franco


Spain may exhume the remains of dictator Francisco Franco from his huge mausoleum near Madrid and move them to a cemetery, the daily Periodico de Catalunya reported on Monday. The proposal is being considered by a commission of experts which the government has tasked with proposing how to deal with the Valley of the Fallen, Franco's monumental burial place in San Lorenzo de El Escorial. The mausoleum is seen as being contrary to the 2007 Law of Historic Memory on the 1939-75 Franco era. Franco took power following the 1936-39 civil war in which his troops defeated those of the leftist republican government. The law stipulated recognition of the wrongs suffered by Franco's victims, including measures such as removing Francoist monuments and assistance to associations reopening mass graves. One of the last issues to be dealt with is the Valley of the Fallen, which was built by republican prisoners. The mausoleum holds the remains of more than 30 000 people, including those of hundreds of republicans, whose bones were brought there to increase the number of people buried at the site. The commission comprising historians and legal experts is mulling ways to turn the mausoleum into “a monument of reconciliation.” The commission is now considering the possibility of removing Franco's remains from the basilica of the Valley of the Fallen and transferring them to El Pardo cemetery in Madrid, Periodico de Catalunya reported. This might be accepted by the Franco family, because he would then lie next to his wife Carmen Polo, according to the report. The basilica also houses the remains of Jose Antonio Primo de Rivera, the founder of Franco's Falangist party. They would not be removed from the Valley of the Fallen, because he was executed by the republicans during the war and is therefore considered a war victim.

NEW dad died after being beaten up during a holiday in Spain.

Chris Lindsay

A NEW dad died after being beaten up during a holiday in Spain.

Chris Lindsay was found unconscious in the street following a night out with work pals.

He died five days later - on his girlfriend's 30th birthday.

Chris's dad Harry, 63, said: "It's hard to take. We keep thinking he is going to walk back through the door at any minute."

Chris's family raced to the Costa del Sol after doctors rang to say he was fighting for his life.

They are now trying to piece together what happened on the night he was attacked.

Chris, 34, who leaves a three-month-old son Jude, had flown to Spain with colleagues from The Marketing Company, based in Glasgow's Hope Street.

A group of around 10 of them were staying at a villa in Calahonda, between Marbella and Fuengirola.

On the night he was attacked, marketing officer Chris, of Edinburgh, and his pals had been out for a meal.

Most of them went to bed later but Chris and a senior colleague decided to keep the party going and went back out.

The pair got separated in a bar and Chris was found unconscious in the early hours of the morning.

It is not known how he sustained his injuries or how he got to hospital. But relatives who rushed to his bedside in Carlos Haya hospital in Malaga say it was obvious he had been attacked.

His brother Tony, 38, of Edinburgh, said: "We don't know who found him but he had been unconscious in the street on the Sunday morning and his passport was missing.

"When we saw him, his face was OK but there was bad bruising down his right-hand side, and cuts on his knees and elbows.

"We have no idea if he was jumped or if it was a one-on-one, but he had certainly been in a fight."

Chris was taken to hospital in Marbella before being transferred to Malaga. He died on Friday after suffering liver and kidney failure.

His family and his girlfriend Vikky Soloman hope a postmortem examination will shed more light on what happened.

Tony added: "Something has happened after he went back out. But all we can say for sure is that he has ended up dead."

Chris's dad Harry, 63, a care worker of Airdrie, Lanarkshire, said: "We're going about in a trance at the moment. Chris was a hard worker and a good lad."

Tony added: "I am absolutely devastated.

"Chris was absolutely thrilled to have become a dad again.

"There are still too many question marks about what happened."

Police on the Costa del Sol are investigating.

Chris's body will stay in Spain until officers decide whether to launch a criminal inquiry.

A Foreign Office spokesman said: "We can confirm the death of a British national in Spain. We are providing consular assistance to the family."

Sunday, 9 October 2011

British man arrested on Tenerife with 34 heroin capsules in his body


34 year old British man has been arrested at the Los Rodeos Tenerife North Airport after found to be carrying 75 capsules of heroin inside his body. News has just been released of the arrest which took place last Wednesday afternoon, and a statement from the Guardia Civil says the total weight of the drug recovered was 913 grams. Apparently when stopped by customs officials on arrival from the Spanish mainland, suspicions were raised when the Briton was unable to give a clear explanation as to the reason for his visit to Tenerife. The man, who has not been named in reports, was subjected to medical and police surveillance in the Canaries Universitario Hospital until all the capsules had been passed. That was checked by x-ray.

City Hall has now set up a special space where woman and men can carry out the oldest profession in the world without being fined.

area has been prepared next to the Guadalhorce river

Photo EFEPhoto EFE
enlarge photo

Ten months after introducing new restrictions on prostitution in Málaga, prohibiting the offering of services less than 200m from shops or homes, the PP controlled City Hall has now set up a special space where woman and men can carry out the oldest profession in the world without being fined.

Some are calling the idea a ‘follódromo’, and it reminds others of the late Marbella Mayor, Jesús Gil’s intention to establish a ‘Putódromo’ in Marbella.

The area chosen is next to the Guadalhorce river, and over the last few weeks the Ayuntamiento has levelled the ground and installed a dozen or so lampposts. 

Several non-governmental organisations have already criticised the plan, considering that it will expose the prostitutes to robberies and aggressions, but the prostitutes think it is the only way for them to avoid the actions of the police and fines of 700 €.

Sandra Vicente, from the Commission to Investigate Domestic Violence against Women, is reported in El País as saying
‘The problem is the Town Halls are taking it for granted that prostitution is legal. Most of the laws penalise the women who are in the street, but do not specifically mention prostitution’.

Friday, 7 October 2011

Man sentenced for stealing on Marbella beaches.


sentenced to almost three years in prison for stealing credit cards on Marbella beaches in August 2010. The Algerian man, who was living in Spain illegally, stole four cards from beachgoers’ bags over a period of six days, at the Levante, Cabopino and Nikki Beach areas, as well as money, mobile phones and any other valuable goods. He used the credit cards to purchase goods amounting to €9,000 at La Cañada Shopping Centre. When he was arrested, he offered the Marbella Local Police officers €3,000 if they would let him go free. When they refused, he insulted them. He was carrying designer clothes, a wallet, purses, a mobile phone and €5,651 from the robberies at the time of his arrest. He will also have to pay a €5,200 fine for theft, forgery, coercion and altering public order, as well as paying €9,000 compensation to the victims.

Thursday, 6 October 2011

Scottish couple who went on the run in Spain to escape fraud charges are to have almost £1m seized under proceeds of crime legislation.


 Anthony Kearney, 46, and 44-year-old Donna McCafferty admitted claiming housing benefit when they had more than £330,000 in offshore accounts. Kearney was jailed for two years in 2008 and McCafferty was given 250 hours community service. At Glasgow Sheriff Court, confiscation orders totalling £943,366 were granted. Kearney and McCafferty were tracked down in the Costa Blanca town of Benissa in November 2008 after being featured in a Crimestoppers appeal to catch on-the-run British suspects. Fraud probe Kearney was later jailed for two years and McCafferty was given 250 hours community service. The couple, who have a son together, admitted committing benefit fraud by claiming housing benefit when they had more than £330,000 in offshore accounts. Continue reading the main story “ Start Quote This case should also be a warning to those who think that targeting public an easy way to make money” Lesley Thomson QC Solicitor General Kearney also claimed for almost £23,000 in income support and pocketed more than £10,000 from credit card frauds. They went on the run after a money laundering investigation was launched against them in May 2004. At Glasgow Sheriff Court, a confiscation order for £930,362 was made against Kearney, and a confiscation order for £13,003 was made against McCafferty. Solicitor General, Lesley Thomson QC, said: "Anthony Kearney and Donna McCafferty lied about their circumstances to rob the public purse of thousands of pounds in benefit fraud before fleeing to Spain to try and escape justice. "They were arrested on an international warrant within 24 hours of a Crimestoppers' appeal - which featured them on a "most-wanted" list - and extradited back to Scotland. "This case should also be a warning to those who think that targeting public funds through criminal enterprise is an easy way to make money, and a reminder that the proceeds of crime legislation covers a wide range of offences where there has been financial benefit." Minister for Welfare Reform Lord Freud said benefit thieves were costing the taxpayer almost £1bn per year. "This money should be going to the people who need it most and not lining the pockets of criminals sunning themselves overseas," he said. "In addition to the sentence imposed by the court, the department always seeks to recover the money falsely obtained, to ensure that cheats do not benefit from their criminal activities."

900 kilos of hashish recovered on the Costa del Sol


organised crime and drugs unit, UDYCO of the National Police on the Costa del Sol has found 900 kilos of hashish on a yacht and hidden in a house in Cártama. At least eight people have been arrested, three Moroccans and five Spaniards. La Opinión de Málaga reports that the investigation started in Madrid, and a police operation last week which observed how the yacht left Morocco last week destination Spain. The vessel was intercepted and then escorted into Málaga port where 600 kilos of hashish was found. The police say the owner of the yacht is already well known to them for his alleged links to hashish trafficking across the Strait. The second part of the operation came in Cártama where a home was found to contain 300 kilos of hashish, 2.5 kilos of cocaine, some 150 marihuana plants and about 70,000 € in cash. A man and woman arrested there were finally released. It’s believed the house was used to store the drugs before they were distributed across Europe.

Wednesday, 5 October 2011

Injured passerby in Alicante shootout denounces the police


One of the three passersby who were injured in a shootout between police and a gang of armed robbers in an assault on an Alicante city centre jewellery store on Saturday has denounced the officers who mistakenly arrested him as one of the gang. Twenty three year old Fernando Guzmán was shot in the wrist when he was caught in the crossfire, but was arrested with a friend after he was taken to hospital. He claims that both were treated roughly during their arrest and were humiliated and insulted when they were questioned at the National Police station. Both were released without charge in the early hours of Sunday. Encarna Llinares, central government representative in Alicante, defended the officers who were involved on Saturday night. She told El País, ‘They acted professionally, risking their lives to protect others’. It’s now known that the gang of four had travelled to Alicante from Marseilles to carry out the robbery. The robber who was killed in the shootout is reported by the French press to be linked to a dangerous gang which was responsible for a string of 13 assaults on jewellery stores in the Marseilles area some years ago. Their total haul is put at 1.5 million €. The remaining three who were involved in the Alicante assault were all remanded to custody on Tuesday.

Major haul of speed in Spain


Civil Guard operation run jointly with the Basque police force, the Ertzaintza, has seized more than 120 kilos of speed from a gang which operated in the north of Spain. The value of the drugs seized is put at 1 million €, although Civil Guard Col. Juan Luis Pérez Martín indicated to EFE in a press conference on Wednesday that it could have brought in up to 2.5 million € on the street. Fifteen suspects were arrested in Navarra, La Rioja, Vizcaya and Cantabria, eleven of whom have been remanded to custody. Most of those involved worked in haulage, and used their regular trips out of the country to smuggle the speed into Spain. A warehouse which the organisation used to store the drugs was located on an industrial estate in Barakaldo, Vizcaya, during the course of the investigation. The haul also includes smaller quantities of cocaine, cannabis, ecstasy, marijuana and crystal.

Change of Heart for Maurice Boland


 Maurice Boland, is set to launch a new radio station later this month after formally leaving Heart FM. The controversial DJ posted a statement on his Facebook page this morning (Wednesday) thanking the station for its support during his ‘short but enjoyable stay,’ but announced he had a new project in the pipeline. “Let me assure you that my absence on the airways will be only short lived. I’m delighted to announce that along with an exceptional team of top class broadcasters, I am developing a new radio project,” he said. He later told the Olive Press: “I am really excited to be setting up a new radio station. “It will be similar format to before with news and current affairs and I have a great name and fabulous studios. “But I haven’t really released any information about it yet. I put it on Facebook as so many people had been calling and emailing me asking where I had gone as I had disappeared off Heart so I was forced to reveal something,” he added. Boland refused to confirm the name of his new station but sources believe it will be an online station called Eye Talk Europe. It comes after the disgraced Irish entertainer returned to the airwaves in April after his close relationship with a 16-year-old girl was exposed. He was forced to lie low for nine months after having his contract terminated at Talk Radio Europe (TRE), as exclusively revealed at the time by the Olive Press. The broadcaster, 62, had set out to help the teenager forge a musical career but their relationship had evolved and he later admitted to making a ‘terrible mistake.’

Peter Bibby on the run while other boiler room crooks get jailed


Seven crooks who ran an £8million boiler room scam flogging worthless shares in a supposedly successful bio-diesel enterprise have been jailed for a total of 39 years. Worldwide Bio Refineries was portrayed by coldcallers as a fantastic investment, turning vegetable waste into fuel, but it was a dormant company with just £20 in its bank account. The Serious Fraud Office says: "The share-selling was undertaken by salesmen working from a number of boiler rooms in Marbella and Barcelona although many of them used false names and claimed to be calling from offices Frankfurt, Stockholm or Amsterdam. "The business prospects of the company and the bio-diesel market were inflated by WBR's directors and the salesmen, who claimed that substantial international business was being done and that the business's shares were valued at £110 million. "Investors believed that their investment in a successful bio-diesel enterprise would net them significant short term returns, bolstered by claims that WBR was to be floated on the stock market which would result in a significant increase in share value. These claims were bogus. "The reality was that the UK bio-diesel plant produced no output and, with only limited imports coming from a Singapore plant, WBR was not being managed with any intention of it becoming a growing commercial success generating profits from sales of bio-diesel. WBR was simply a vehicle for fraud." At Ipswich Crown Court, Dennis Potter of Singapore, born April 1939, was jailed for seven years. Redmond "Ray" Charles Johnson of Tyne and Wear, born September 1944, got three years. From Marbella, Steven John Murphy, born in February 1976 and Greg Pearson, born August 1973, both got six years inside. From Hertfordshire, Paul Daniel Murphy, born in September 1973 got six years and Lee Eliot Homan, born in July 1972, got five years and six months. Peter Bibby from south London, born in September 1967 is on the run. He was sentenced in absentia to six years. Serious Fraud Office director Director Richard Alderman said, "I am very pleased with the sentences in this case which reflect the callous way the criminals preyed on their victims." Potter and Johnson were associates of Alternative Diesel Investments, run by Robert Alan Scott and an earlier "completely fraudulent" operation.

64% Of Moroccan Men Are Reunited With Their Wife


Sánchez-Domínguez states that “Moroccan men show strong endogamic tendencies and use marriage as a way of being reunited later on with their partner within Spain. The most common type of behaviour consists of a Moroccan single man coming to Spain. After a certain amount of time, he returns to Morocco where he gets married to a Moroccan woman and then returns to Spain without his spouse. Later on, he is reunited with his wife within Spanish society. Some 64% of Moroccan immigrant men have employed this strategy. According to experts, religion as well as geographical proximity to Spain are key factors in explaining this phenomenon. Exogamy is an indication of an immigrant’s level of social integration. Those who have higher tendencies towards exogamy are Argentineans and Colombians. According to the researcher, linguistic and cultural proximity means that the number of marriages with the Spanish population is very high “because they see each other as equals.” Furthermore, it was observed that Brazilian, Dominican, Cuban and Colombian women display a high percentage of marriage with Spanish men within just a year of arriving in Spain. This is a phenomenon known as “imported brides”. Sánchez Domínguez highlights that “in general terms, endogamy decreases according to the amount of time that an immigrant spends in a country, which, in turn, is a clear indication of integration. On the other hand, endogamy is higher amongst immigrants with less educational attainment and exogamy is more prevalent amongst immigrants who have a university education.”

Spanish Women Marry Immigrants With More Qualifications


A team at the Complutense University of Madrid (UCM) has studied the marriage strategies of immigrants in order to determine the nature of endogamic (between people of the same nationality) and exogamic partnerships (between people of different nationalities) in Spain. The preliminary results indicate that, unlike Spanish men, Spanish women prefer immigrants with more qualifications. “It caught our attention that human capital was more important in determining outmarriage amongst Spanish women but this is not the case in Spanish men. In other words, it seems that Spanish women prefer to get married to an immigrant man who has a higher educational attainment. However, this preference does not exist amongst Spanish men when it comes to getting married to an immigrant woman,” explains María Sánchez-Domínguez, investigator at the UCM and co-author of the study that was published in the International Sociology Journal. The researcher and her team gathered data from the National Immigrant Survey of Spain (2007), which was carried out by the UCM’s Population and Society Study Group (GEPS) and Spain’s National Statistic Institute (INE). The survey acts as a unique source of information and can be used to understand the characteristics of immigrants in Spain since 2007. Sánchez-Domínguez points out that “although it is from 2007, the survey contains both information on the current situation of those surveyed as well as their migration history. It is the only source of information that we can use to study the marriage strategies of immigrants and link them to integration processes. It is useful not just in understanding immigrant marriages in Spain but also those marriages that took place in the country of origin. From these data, in an initial study, researchers analysed endogamic marriages in Spain and the relationship between marriage and migration strategies. The expert’s main conclusion was that Moroccans are more prone towards endogamy, followed by Romanians and Ecuadorians.

£40million cocaine-smuggling gang are sent to jail


GANG involved in a "high-level international drugs ring" that brought an estimated £40 million of cocaine into Scotland from Spain were jailed today. Keith Blenkinsop and Lindsay Harkins were the ring-leaders in the operation while Andrew Burns, Robert Dalrymple and James Elvin acted as couriers. All five men were convicted of being concerned in the supply of cocaine in Scotland, England and Spain between 2007 and 2009 following a trial at the High Court in Glasgow last month, the Crown Office said. Blenkinsop, 43, from Annan, Dumfries and Galloway, was sentenced to 12 years behind bars and Harkins, 44, of Helensburgh, Argyll and Bute, was jailed for nine years and 341 days at the High Court in Edinburgh. Stuart Cassidy, interim district procurator fiscal for Dumfries, said: "This case involved a high-level international drugs ring which used couriers to traffic an estimated £40 million in cocaine from Spain to Scotland. "The drugs - cocaine, amphetamines and cannabis - were destined for the streets of Glasgow but some were also distributed in the Dumfries area. "Drug trafficking at this level is of the utmost seriousness and the damage it does to our young people and Scotland's communities cannot be underestimated. "The Crown will continue to vigorously prosecute drug dealers and will use every power available to disrupt their criminal enterprises and seize their assets." In 2004 Blenkinsop was also sentenced to four years in prison in Spain following a conviction for drug dealing. In sentencing comments released following the hearing, judge Lord Doherty told Blenkinsop: "You have been convicted of being concerned in the supplying of cocaine between January 29 2007 and June 19 2009. "It is clear on the evidence that you were one of the principals in a major cocaine distribution operation which involved cocaine being purchased in Spain, brought back to Scotland, adulterated here using mixing agents and industrial presses, and then being sold on. "Large quantities of money raised in the drug distribution operation was exchanged into euro for onward transfer to Spain. Others operated to your instructions. Cocaine was purchased regularly in Spain in quantities of 2kg at a time. "Those who play leading roles in drug distribution operations involving class A drugs must expect to be dealt with severely by the courts." Blenkinsop was also convicted of being involved in the supply of cannabis resin and amphetamines while Harkins was found guilty of supplying amphetamines. Dalrymple, who is 43 and from Gretna, Dumfries and Galloway, was sentenced to six years and 357 days imprisonment after being convicted of being involved in the drugs operation as a courier in 2009. Elvin, 35, from Clydebank, West Dunbartonshire, was sentenced to five years and 351 days after also being convicted of being a courier. He brought back two kilograms of cocaine from Spain on April 30 2009 and was about to travel back the following day with more than 37,000 euros (£31,000) in cash hidden in his bag when he was caught. Burns, who is 56 and from Helensburgh, was handed a sentence of seven years and 349 days after he was convicted of being concerned in the supplying of cocaine between January 29 2007 and March 17 2009.

Tuesday, 4 October 2011

pregnant woman murdered while attending Mass


A madman shot two women attending Mass at a Catholic church in the Ciudad Leal district of Madrid on September 29. It was approximately 8 pm when Iván Berral Cid (34) entered the Santa María del Pinar parish church and without a word opened fire on the two innocent women, killing one and severely wounding the other. After commiting the crime, Berral Cid shot himself thus ending his own life. According to reports, Berral Cid had meticulously planned the attack following a June 2011 restraining order to stay away from his former companion, a Colombian woman. He had a considerable criminal record, including drug trafficking, domestic abuse, and resisting arrest. However, no record of psychiatric treatment has yet been reported. His former companion is expecting a child. It is believed that his obsession with his former girlfriend, coupled with other psychological issues, led him to take action at the church after he had spent months living on the street. Some members of the congregation believe that they may have seen him before the fatal attack. According to witnesses, Berral Cid had been haunting the church all day on September 28. One witness said that Berral Cid asked him at 6:45 that evening at what time Mass was expected. The killer entered and left the church several times during the recitation of the Rosary before the Mass.  The parish priest, Fr Francisco Santos, said that Berral Cid was acting strangely and also asked him at what time the Mass would begin. Witnesses said that moments before the Mass began, Berral Cid entered the church with pistol in hand. While raising the pistol, he grazed the head of a 72-year-old man waiting for the Mass and then put the muzzle to the temple of the unsuspecting expectant mother thus ending her life and of her baby. Rocio Pineiro (36) fell dead to the floor as Berral Cid advanced towards the altar as he fired wildly. Another bullet struck 52–year-old María Luis Fernández in the chest, and at least another struck the ceiling of the church. Witnesses said that in what seemed like a bizarre ritual, the killer stalked towards the sanctuary and at about six feet from the altar spun around to face the congregation whereupon he sank to his knees. Fixing his gaze on the congregation and the entry into the church, Berral Cid placed the muzzle of the pistol in his mouth, pulled the trigger and blew his head off. Panic ensued after members of the congregation had appeared transfixed during the carnage. Some flew out the door to seek help while others rang for the police and emergency services with their cellphones.  “My daughter, my daughter!” wailed María del Carmen, the mother of the dead woman who was due to deliver her baby within days. Emergency services were unable to revive Rocio, whose head was destroyed by the impact of the pistol’s discharge.  “Save at least my grandson, Alvaro!” cried María del Carmen. Physicians at the La Paz Hospital were able to save little Alvaro, who remains in critical condition.  Rocio and her mother had come to the church to pray for the health of the baby, having just celebrated the patronal feast of their hometown in Galicia. Members of the congregation sought help for Fernández, who fell bleeding to the floor of the church. One man tried to staunch the blood flowing from her breast as Fernández fell in and out of consciousness.  When she asked what had happened to her, Jesus Herranz told her that she was fine even as blood drained from the exit wound on her back. Fernández said that she felt cold as Herranz tried to stop the bleeding. Finally, emergency services arrived and took her to a nearby hospital. Police found in the killer’s wallet a handwritten note in which he claimed that the “devil is after me” and that he had no work or money for food. Rocio and her husband Fernando had been married for barely 5 months. Her family and friends were overcome with grief and confusion following the attack. Neither she nor the other victim knew the killer nor each other. Some witnesses are concluding that Berral Cid was looking to kill a pregnant woman as a form of demented rage actually directed towards his girlfriend. Rocio worked at a bank in Madrid,  a branch of which also employed her father. Upon hearing the news, her father fainted away in grief. Her mother, Maria del Carmen, had come to Madrid to help with preparations for the birth.

Monday, 3 October 2011

Man dies in shoot out in Alicante City Centre


One person has died and three have been seriously injured in a shoot out in the centre of Alicante. The 30 year old dead man is one of some thieves who got involved in the shoot out with the police after attacking a jewellers shop in Avenida Alfonso X el Sabio. Witnesses said that between 15 and 20 shots were fired. Another one of the thieves was arrested after a police chase as far as Canalejas, and a third managed to stay on the run until the early hours of Sunday when he was finally detained. Police say that the robbers were armed with shotguns, a hand grenade and a sub-machine gun, and all are French and aged between 24 and 61. They were all dressed entirely in black with gloves, balaclavas and bullet-proof vests. The three injured people are passersby who happened to be close to the jewellers at the time of the incident at 2030 on Saturday night. One is a 51 year old woman who was shot in her left hip and has been taken to the San Juan Hospital, and the other two injuries are male, a 63 year old with an injury to his back and another, aged 23 who was hit in the wrist. They have also both been taken to Alicante hospital.


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