A WOMAN dubbed ‘the Black Widow’ after her husband was killed on an Alicante street on Spain’s Costa Blanca and her ‘carer’ have appeared in court aqccused of murder.
María Concepción M. V. – known as Conchi – and Francisco P. O., attended a preliminary hearing where public and private prosecutions requested the opening of a trial and the defence asked for the case to be dismissed.
The two under under investigation arrived yesterday (January 8) in different vehicles of the Guardia Civil and while Conchi only said she was “fine” when she entered the Benalúa courts, Francisco was more expressive and told journalists that “I have been locked up for 17 months for trying to help a person, that’s how we are.”
The Prosecutor’s Office and the private prosecution requested in the appearance made in the Court of Instruction number 5 of Alicante the opening of the oral trial. The defences of Conchi and her ‘caretaker’ asked for the dismissal of the proceedings after alleging that the victim had already been attacked when they saw him and that they were only trying to help.
None of the parties requested new evidence in the hearing and, unless there is a major surprise, Judge Manrique Tejada will agree this week to open the oral trial and send the case to the Provincial Court so that a popular jury can try the facts.
In the preliminary hearing held yesterday, none of the accused gave a statement, but they did have to be present while their lawyers and the prosecutors made their submissions.
The prosecution has requested in its indictment 30 and 28 years in prison for the “black widow” and her caretaker, while the lawyer Aitor Prieto Razquin, who is prosecuting the case on behalf of the 69-year-old man’s children has demanded a sentence of 31 years and three months in prison for each defendant.
The lawyers for Conchi, José Soler Martín, and for Paco, Francisco Sánchez-Camacho Moreno, maintain that none of the accused has criminal responsibility because they did not participate in the crime and therefore demand their acquittal.
According to the brief of conclusions presented by the lawyer of the “black widow”, when Conchi and her caretaker arrived at the parking lot of Sol Naciente Street – in La Albufereta – in August 2018 her husband appeared “staggering” after being attacked by other people who managed to flee without being able to be identified. Her actions were limited to trying to help José Luis with the other accused, according to her defence.
In the same vein, Francisco’s lawyer states in his defence brief that when he arrived at the scene, the aggression had already taken place by a person who fled in a vehicle and that Conchi’s ‘caretaker’ only intervened to prevent his friend José Luis from falling to the ground and to prevent his wife from seeing him before he died, in addition to asking for help.
However, prosecutors say there is no doubt that both defendants stabbed José Luis to death and have the testimony of an off-duty police officer and a friend who witnessed the crime.
José Luis, from Guardamar del Segura in Spain was stabbed 20 times with a screwdriver in an Alicante city car park on August 20, 2018, 15 days after marrying 45-year-old Conchi in Sax.
The written accusation claims that the two defendants are guilty of a crime of murder with the aggravating factors of treachery and viciousness, amongst other aggravating circumstances.
It says that the sustained attack on José Luis with a screwdriver, “consciously and voluntarily caused the victim unnecessary pain and suffering” in order to kill him.
The accusation outlines how Conchi and 58-year-old Francisco – a close friend of the victim and Conchi’s carer – arranged to meet in a dark car park at 10 pm, supposedly before going out to dinner.
But once there the wheelchair-bound woman apparently managed to get to her feet and hold the victim while Francisco allegedly stabbed Jose Luis with a screwdriver.
The attack was witnessed by an off-duty National Police officer from a viewpoint above the car park. She shouted at them to stop then ran to the victim’s assistance while calling for back up.
When she arrived at the crime scene, the officer observed Conchi holding her husband’s head while her ‘caretaker’ continued the stabbing frenzy.
Once the witness was identified as an officer, she observed that Francisco exhibited “slippery behaviour” and was trying to hide what looked like a screwdriver.
Uniformed police who arrived moments later searched him and found a bag with a broken screwdriver handle and gloves with traces of the victim’s blood on them.
In addition to the prison sentence, five years of probation are requested once they are released from prison, with the obligation to appear weekly in court. Prosecutors also want them to be banned from approaching within 1,000 metres of the victim’s relatives and of communicating with them, as well as the prohibition of living in or visiting Guardamar and Santa Pola or any other municipality where José Luis’ next of kin may reside in the future.
The compensation sought by the private prosecution is €50,000 to each of the two sons of the deceased and a daughter of a former wife of José Luis.