I am posting a factual account of my father’s murder in the hope that someone with some kind of power or influence within the EU (especially MEPs and European Commissioners) will have a clear understanding of our plight. It is a desperate plea for help, and I implore you all to read to the end.
On the 6th June 2009 my father and twin brothers (who were 16 at the time) were attacked by a mob of approximately 40 people in Competa, Spain, where my family owned a holiday home.
My father and brothers were savagely beaten sustaining serious injuries. My brothers survived the attack, our beloved father died of his injuries after laying in a coma for twelve days.
The Spanish police arrested 22 individuals; five were minors and have been dealt with by the Spanish courts. 17 have been charged with numerous offences and await trial. At time of writing this we
understand that 4 of those have been charged with homicide. The arrests and charges were made
six months of the murder of my father.
After our father’s death we were told we had three options.
- We could pay for our fathers remains to be stored in Spain (we assume under the instruction of the Spanish court) at a cost of 60 euros per day, to be paid by my family.
- We could have our father’s remains placed in a “niche” in Spain, but if we chose this option we were told that under Spanish law he would have to stay there for five years.
- We could repatriate our father back to the UK, but we would have to agree not to have him cremated (as were his wishes), and on the understanding that once he was buried he might need to be exhumed on a date close to the trial.
We could not accept any of these options. We wanted our father home. Our holiday insurers were horrified by these choices and said they would pay for our father’s storage until we could reach an agreement that was acceptable to everybody.
Our family were extremely fortunate to have been allocated a Family Liaison Officer from Dorset Police. On our behalf Dorset Police approached the UK coroner to inquire if he could assist. The coroner reached an agreement with the Spanish Authorities whereby our father's remains were returned to the UK approximately four months after his murder. The coroner had to agree not to release his body for a funeral until after the trial, and we could have no access to our father until such a time as the trial had taken place.
The 17th June 2013 will mark the four year anniversary of our dad's death. There has still been no trial, and as we are unable to get any information from Spanish authorities we still have no way of knowing when or even if there will ever be one. Our father remains stored in a mortuary two minutes from our family home.
It is impossible to describe the impact that our father’s murder has had on our family. Not least upon my two brothers who witnessed the murder. But it is even more difficult to explain how the treatment we have suffered at the hands of Spanish authorities has made us feel.
We have heard much recently about the European Directive for Victims of Crime. We note it contains the following information on “broad categories”:
- respectful treatment and recognition as victims, both within the justice system and more widely by society;
We continue to be treated disrespectfully by the Spanish authorities (as does our deceased father), and we have never been recognised nor treated as victims within the Spanish Criminal Justice System.
- protection both from intimidation, retaliation and further harm by the accused or suspected and from harm during criminal investigations and court proceedings, such as by avoiding repeated interviewing of the victim;
No protection was afforded to my brothers (who were victims of the attack) nor myself or my mum, despite us having to return to the exact region where the attack took place twice in the subsequent years under court order to give statements. We had no contact with the police, and therefore no protection from any of the above. The interview procedure also served to re-traumatise my brothers.
- support, including immediate assistance following a crime, longer-term physical and psychological assistance and practical assistance during proceedings to help victims understand, participate and to reduce their distress;
We were offered no support, had no immediate assistance (despite not being able to speak nor understand the language) and were given no practical assistance.
- access to justice to ensure that victims are aware of their rights and understand them both linguistically and legally, are able to provide additional information and to participate in proceedings; and
We still do not have any access to justice. They ignore all and any requests for information. To add to this, no official from our own government in the UK has done anything to help us gain access to the Spanish system.
To this day, we still do not understand the process of the investigation.
- compensation and restoration, whether through financial damages paid by the State or by the offender or through mediation or other form of restorative justice that allow victims to face the accused, with a view to reaching a voluntary agreement between them on how to repair the harm to the victim.
We have had no offer of compensation.
As the above clearly illustrates, Spain have a long way to go if it is to improve its treatment of crime victim’s by 2015.
Almost four years after his brutal murder by an armed, riotous mob, our beloved father lies in a mortuary two minutes from our family home unable to have a funeral due to decisions being made by a Spanish court. We are relying on underfunded charities for support and help with vital things like translation of documents. We can get no reliable information from Spain. We have no way of realistically knowing if we will ever have the chance to say our final farewell, conducting a decent and respectful funeral for our decent, hardworking, devoted father.
If you feel you might be able to help or advise us in any way please e-mail:
00 44 208 207 0702