Category: Crime


Maria del Carmen Garcia hugs her daughter in a recent image.

In 1998 María del Carmen García of Benejuzar was sentenced to nine years in prison for setting fire to her 13 year old daughters rapist, having first doused him in petrol. The man died several days after the incident from the severity of his burns.

The women spent a year in custody during which time the Supreme Court reduced the sentence to five years on appeal, thereby reducing the penalty by two degrees. Having served 12 months in prison Garcia was subsequently released on parole while an appeal based on her mental disorder was considered but her lawyer said that she could be readmitted at any time. Her husband is currently suffering from throat cancer.

The District court was asked by the lawyer, Joaquín Galant, to suspend any further imprisonment until the outcome of the Supreme Court decision on the appeal was known. However the court has now refused to Snr Galant’s request and the woman has been told that she must return to prison.

The family says that it is “absolutely devastated” and it does not understand why the request to wait for the Supreme Court decision was not approved. Sources close to the case said that Maria del Carmen Garcia is also “desolate.”

María del Carmen García must now serve her sentence of five years in prison and although the prosecution had endorsed a partial pardon of half of the sentence, the Council of Ministers refused to grant the further measure of grace. This would have been enough to stop her imprisonment, as the woman had already spent a year in custody.

Galant has again appealed the decision to the Supreme considering it “discriminatory” and he has requested that pending resolution of this appeal her imprisonment was suspended. However, the District Court did not accept the request. The decision of the Court does not specify on what date she will have to return to prison to continue serving her sentence, although it seems that incarceration is imminent.

Local residents have already handed a petition bearing 5,000 signatures in to Judicial authorities in Elche to support an application for her pardon

One of the arguments presented by counsel in the appeal proceedings before the Supreme Court is that Carmen García should be granted the same measure of clemency as that granted to those convicted of serious matters such as the kamikaze driver who killed a young Valencian man after driving for several miles down a motorway in the wrong direction.

Meanwhile both the mayors of Alicante and Elche have come out in support of Carmen Garcia.

“We must not allow her to re-enter the prison” said Sonia Castedo, Mayor of Alicante (PP) “It is true that under the rule of law no one can or should take the law into their own hands but, as a mother, I wholeheartedly support the clemency petition. This woman has already gone through two prisons: one of which she is out of and we must not allow re-entry. The other is her mind and the guilt she suffers from which she will never be free.”

“I am in favor of a pardon” said Mercedes Alonso, Mayor of Elche (PP) “We must respect and obey the law, but, as a woman and mother, this is a situation in which the mother should be granted clemency. You have to understand the feelings of the woman when she confronted her daughter’s rapist, and although that does not justify what she did, I think that as she has already spent a year in the prison I am in favor of a pardon.”

María Angustias Oliveras is the Head of Psychiatry at the Hospital de Sant Joan. She is the psychiatrist who is treating Mari Carmen and has acted as an expert witness for the defense in the case. She too says that she fully supports a pardon. “The suffering of the family over the years has been appalling and the rapist had even threatened to go back to hurt the girl. Moreover, Maria had not intended to kill him, she just wanted to scare him. This was very much an isolated incident. Maria has already been severely punished and there is no possibility that she will ever return to crime, she is on medication and her life has been completely shattered. This is reason enough to grant clemency.”

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Firstly, our contact details:-

Orihuela Costa Neighbourhood Watch – See our website for details – or contact Graham Jones Tel No 96 532 7838


Spain like any other country in the World has crime especially in these hard economical times. We are fortunate in that on the Orihuela Costa and Laguna Green we have a professional and effective Police in the Guardia Civil and Policia Local. In the two years between December, 2008 and December 2010 where there are groups with a total of over 16,000 houses, crime fell by 61%. Crime has continued to decrease over the past years and on looking at the first 4 months of this year in comparison with the same period in 2012 there has again been a further drop, this time of 25% We have a very active Neighbourhood Watch which works with the Police of the area and hope that our activities have played a small part in continued decline.

You can help in keeping crime down. If you see something suspicious happening, do not interfere but try and take the number of any vehicle involved. Do not be afraid to tell the Police and this may be done by using the 112 system. Providing the call is made in good faith the Police welcome such calls.

Do it immediately.

Summer is here. On the Orihuela Costa it is time to enjoy the sun, the sea and

many of the good things that are on offer. Make sure that no-one spoils your time here. Keep your wits about you and your property safe. Only take out with you what you really need. You are in holiday mode and you relax and you enjoy it. That is what you have paid for and you do not think as you normally would do

so in your home environment. Watch out. There´s a thief about. You can help

in keeping crime down by remaining vigilant and remembering the following warnings which are of crime that has occurred here and may happen again in the future.

When you arrive at the airport and you hire a car, do not be taken in by the flustered car hire representative in his or her uniform and has run all the way

from the office to where you have loaded your luggage into the car.

He tells you that he is glad to have caught you and you must return to the office immediately as a mistake has been made. You leave the car keys and the car to his tender mercy only to find out that there has only been one mistake, the one you have just made. The car has gone and so are your belongings.

When travelling by motorway be aware that there are thieves posing as plain clothes Policemen in unmarked cars. The Police in Spain only use plain cars

when checking drivers for speed and traffic offences. However, there is usually an illuminated “stop” signal which is used to stop cars and the agents are always in uniform. If persons in an unmarked car and in civilian clothes try to stop you do not stop, but obtain the number of the car if possible and inform the Police immediately via the 112 system. The genuine police have been successful in arresting members of gangs using this method on the motorways near to Madrid, Barcelona and the border with France, but they are still about.

Similar tactics have been used to try and stop cars leaving our airports.

When using the French and Spanish motorways you need to stop to fill up with petrol. Beware of thieves on the petrol stations particularly near the Spanish French border at La Jonquera and around Barcelona. There are reports of distraction thefts recently in these areas. Always keep car doors locked and don´t open windows to anyone you do not know. Ladies, if you need the toilet leave your handbag hidden away in the locked car. Only carry sufficient money with you to pay for what you buy. If it is necessary to park on the motorway rest areas do not leave the car unattended and only stay for a few minutes.

With summer here we like to spend long warm days on the beaches. Beware,

of thieves. Only take with you what you need and don´t leave it unattended.

If you arrive by car don´t leave anything no matter how small in size or value on view. Don´t leave keys, money or mobile phones in cars even if hidden. Don´t bring Sat Navs or connections to the beach and wipe off those telltale circles on the windows. People have left house keys hidden in cars together with Insurance details or hire agreements and returned to find the car stolen and their home or holiday rental burgled. Previously the Police have arrested thieves attacking cars near to the beaches.

Together with the Beach guards and Police patrols, the Beach bars staff can

help in an emergency. They are trained to give advice and help when required.

They have the emergency numbers and are able to speak a number of European languages. Together with the Council they all want you to enjoy your time here on Orihuela Costa.

Away from the beaches, enjoy our nightlife but again only take with you what

you need . Late at night, walk home in a group and try to keep to populated and well lit areas. Thieves are known to be on the look-out for people with money, who have enjoyed a good drink in the bars and may be returning home alone and be vulnerable.

When out shopping, do not be distracted by persons causing a disturbance

or asking you to lift something off the top shelf for them or seeking directions

in a car park. In our markets, beware of distractions and keep wallets in a safe place, not in shorts pockets. Ladies, please leave your handbags at home unless really needed and do not place them on supermarket trolleys.

When relaxing in the garden, patio or in the pool, make sure that all house doors are locked and closed and never leave important articles, handbags, wallets, keys or jewellery where they can be seen through the windows.

We hope that you enjoy your stay on the Orihuela Costa

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“Distraction theft” happens everywhere, ATM’s at banks, markets and recently an increase in reports at super markets.

The most recent case involved a Swedish visitor who on landing at Alicante airport decided to shop at Mercadona supermarket before going to his home, as he walked down an aisle he was distracted by a young women who asked him a question – the conversation lasting only a few seconds –

Unfortunately this was enough time for the accomplice to steal holiday money of 800 euros from a buttoned pocket in his “safari” shorts.
By time he realised that this had happened the thieves had long gone.

One of the least expensive and successful ways of preventing this type of theft has for many years now been to wear a “money belt” or similar and even then to carry with you only what is necessary for the shopping trip.

Also due to thieves targeting tourists if you have rented a hire car it is very important that you do not advertise this fact and carefully remove the hire car sticker from the rear of the car for your increased safety.

Scott Blair.
Press and Communications Officer.
Neighbourhood Watch in Spain.

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We have received a report of Turkish 10 lira notes being passed on the Orihuela Costa for 10 euro notes.
Please always check notes received in change as these are identical in colour and size.
Chris Poole, NHW.

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There has been a lot of controversy and discussion about a picture that emerged on the internet of a Guardia Civil officer, driving a marked patrol car, but clearly using a mobile telephone.
In order to clarify the position of police officers and mobi…

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