Matt Ford

Matt Ford

DETECTIVES continue to probe the death of a man after a double shooting in Malaga.

Initial reports suggest that he shot his brother over an inheritance claim and, believing him to be dead, took his own life.

It comes as investigators continue to piece together the circumstances surrounding the dramatic incident which has rocked the sleepy hillside village.

One shocked neighbour described the 68-year-old bar-owner as “popular” and belonging to “a good family, very loved and respected in the town.”

The shooting happened at a home on calle Doctor Gomez Clavero, near Plaza del Calvario in the village centre.

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The street cordoned off by police

Police were alerted by a number of residents who reported hearing three loud shots.

Some rushed to the man’s home where they found him barely alive with a gunshot wound to the head, but he had died by the time medics arrived.

Police said he pulled the trigger after first placing the gun in his mouth.

His brother, 61, had already been taken to hospital by his wife.

He was treated for a wounded left arm with his condition described as “stable.”

Two shotguns – one double-barrelled – were recovered from the scene as investigations continue.

A COURT CASE involving 35 members of MS-13, the murderous street gang also known as Mara Salvatrucha, is underway on the Costa Blanca.

A total of 12 sessions are scheduled for the trial, which will run until May, with the defendants facing prison sentences of two to 30 years for a range of charges including illegal weapons possession, attempted murder, conspiracy to murder, money laundering and drug trafficking.

It comes after a major police sting saw investigators swoop on the gang’s Spanish headquarters in Ibi, Alicante, plus cells in Madrid, Barcelona and Gerona in the wake of a wiretapping probe.

The crackdown was designed to stop the organisation from expanding its operations in Spain, where it had been receiving funds from kingpins in the dangerous Central American country of El Salvador.

It also prevented the assassination of two people, including a man who witnessed the stabbing of a Romanian member of the Latin Kings - an enemy crew - in Alicante Port.

Among those on trial are several local bosses, who allegedly orchestrated violent territorial battles with rival gangs and set up drug trafficking networks.

But the majority are ‘soldiers,’ many of them children, who committed robberies and other petty crimes to pay the monthly membership fee of €100.

They would pass an initiation rite during which they were brutally beaten for 13 seconds before being given a ‘placa’ (nickname) and accepted into the gang.

According to reports, defence lawyers have already negotiated a number of reduced sentences in exchange for confessions, although this has not yet been made official with the trial due to recommence on Thursday March 8.

Originating in Los Angeles, United States, most MS-13 members are from Central America, particularly El Salvador.

They are famed for the tattoos covering their bodies and their motto ‘Mata, roba, viola, controla’ (kill, steal, rape, control).

The gang is mostly active in the United States, El Salvador, Mexico, Guatemala, Honduras, and Canada, and was planning to gain a foothold in Spain, according to detectives.

A BRITISH former rock star who was jailed for a murder he did not commit has launched a €5.2 million lawsuit against the Spanish government.

Gary Owens, 56, spent 30 months in high security Spanish prisons after being arrested in Tenerife with wife Jayne, 50, in 1991.

The couple were held in connection with death of Norwegian nightclub owner Torbjorn Heta, whose body was found at the bottom of a Marbella well.

And the guitarist, whose band A II Z played with Black Sabbath and Iron Maiden after hitting the British heavy metal charts in the early 1980s, is now suing for damages.

His lawyer Luis Tatay, based in Valencia, revealed that a claim has been filed with the Ministry of Justice in Madrid.

He said: “Mr Owens has suffered more than 25 years under a criminal investigation, two-and-a-half years in prison and being extradited from the UK to Spain.

“If the Ministry fails to respond to the claim, we have the options of seeking a trial before the Audiencia Nacional [a special high court] and appealing to the Supreme Court.”

It comes after the Stockport-born rocker was freed without being charged in 1993 before returning to the UK in 1995 on the advice of the British Embassy in Madrid.

He moved to Scunthorpe in Lincolnshire where he set up an internet business, a cyber cafe and a publishing firm.

But in 2008 a European Arrest Warrant was issued in his name and he was taken to London before being extradited to Spain the following year after unsuccessful appeals to the High Court, the House of Lords and the Supreme Court.

He was again released from prison three months later after Jayne – with who he has a 21-year-old son – paid €6,000.

He remained on bail until September 2016, when he was told there would be no trial and was eventually refunded the money.

Speaking to the Euro Weekly News last year, Mr Owens said: “I want to know how the Spanish justice system can destroy my life, breaking its own laws with its legal representatives committing crimes to falsely imprison me?

“For 25 years I have been accused of a crime, that there was no evidence for, I have never been charged, and I have been falsely imprisoned, my music career has been ruined and my businesses destroyed.

“We have been unjustly treated by the Spanish and British justice systems, we are claiming compensation from the Spanish justice system for false imprisonment and human rights breaches.”

Mr Heta’s murder remains unsolved, although Mr Owens admits he knew him, adding: “I had met the man who was murdered as he owned a 24-track state-of-the art recording studio in the basement of his villa. I was being given the chance of recording a solo album there.”

Currently living in rural Malaga, he believes that the killing was orchestrated by British drugs gangs who had him set up.

TWO British men charged with the disappearance of a woman from a Costa del Sol nightclub are to stand trial ‘within the next few weeks.’

It comes as lawyer Fernando Scornik Gerstein, prosecuting, reiterated earlier claims that the body of Latvian waitress Agnese Klavina ‘was thrown into the sea, most likely off the coast of Murcia.’

The then-30-year-old vanished on September 6 2014 after leaving a trendy Marbella nightspot with expatriates Westley Capper, 39, and Craig Porter, 35, who could each face 12 years in prison if found guilty of abduction.

CCTV footage shows Ms Klavina being bundled into a car by the pair around 6am, and she has not been seen since.

A doorman from the club will also stand trial after the video revealed that he held the car door closed as she tried to escape.

The men have admitted leaving with her, but Porter claims to have fallen asleep as soon as he got into the car, while Capper said he had left her near her flat in San Pedro de Alcantara before contradicting himself during a reconstruction, leading a judge to describe his statement as ‘improbable.’

But a lack of evidence saw Essex-born Capper, the privately-educated son of a multi-millionaire, and Liverpudlian Porter released from custody. After leaving the Marbella courtroom the men parked their car in a space reserved for disabled drivers as they enjoyed a celebratory drink.

Increasingly convinced that Ms Klavina was dead, investigators swooped on a yacht owned by Capper and moored at the Tomas Maestre marina in La Manga, Mar Menor. They found that just a few hours after the victim’s disappearance, Capper and ‘several other people’ drove to Murcia to collect the boat before setting sail for Fuengirola, arriving on September 8.

A day later they moored up at La Duquesa in Manilva, and early on September 10, Capper, Porter and two unidentified individuals were captured on video as they dragged a heavy suitcase aboard. 

On September 13 Capper and Porter set sail for Ibiza but ended up docking at La Manga after claiming that the vessel’s engine had failed.  Then on September 15 they returned to Marbella by car.

In May 2016 - just a month after being charged in the wake of an 18-month probe into Ms Klavina’s disappearance - Capper was involved in a drunken hit-and-run in San Pedro de Alcantara.

Bolivian mother-of-three Fatima Dorada, 40, was killed after the UK-registered Bentley he was driving careered into her.

Capper and Porter - who was also in the vehicle - fled the scene and were held at an Indian restaurant where they had been drinking vodka and tonic. Both men tested positive for alcohol and cocaine, and Capper could receive an additional manslaughter sentence when a trial is scheduled.

He was remanded in custody before being released on bail three months later.

FIVE men - including an ex-police officer - have been convicted of staging the death of a wealthy man to extort €1 million from his wife on the Costa del Sol.

They must each serve a year and nine months in prison for fraud after the terrified expatriate paid tens of thousands of Euros.

The ruse came after the German couple’s relationship broke down, with the gang claiming to possess evidence that would see her arrested for his ‘murder.’

The former Guardia Civil agent and a professional photographer reportedly posed as detectives, visiting the pair’s Marbella home in full police uniform, complete with badges and guns.

They showed her a number of photographs of her husband’s blood-stained body lying on the floor of a morgue, before demanding €1 million to dispose of the ‘evidence’ against her, threatening her with 21 years in prison if she failed to stump up the cash.

But the blood later turned out to be a fake product of the type used on Halloween.

It had been bought from a Chinese bazaar, and turned green a day after the men produced a bloodied t-shirt as further proof of his death.

A lawyer who was in on the hoax was introduced as the exclusive point of contact for receiving the money.

The other two men - a computer specialist and a dentist who are both friends of the couple - provided personal information about the victim, allowing the gang to convince her that she was under constant police surveillance.

She later told investigators that she became fearful for her life after she was unable to come up with the money, although she did pay a total of €60,000 over a period of several weeks.

The photographer admitted in court that the images had been staged, while the woman’s husband remains wanted in connection with the scam after he vanished in the wake of the incident.

NEW drivers taking their test in Spain will have to attend compulsory classes.

It comes as the Spanish government puts the final touches to a raft of traffic law amendments expected to be approved ‘within days,’ according to reports.

Director of the Directorate General of Traffic (DGT), Gregorio Serrano, confirmed that an official announcement is expected shortly.

“It is clear that we must change the way we examine and introduce new material, such as videos, which include real life traffic situations and not just answering a, b or c,” he said while addressing Spanish Congress.

Under the new rules, learner drivers will not be able to sit the theory test without attending a series of mandatory lessons.

According to the DGT, ‘many’ students show up to take the exam without any preparation, causing test centres to ‘collapse.’

And some of the new questions will involve writing down solutions to potential traffic issues, rather than picking a traditional multiple choice answer.

New subjects introduced via the classes will include driving at night and the safe use of satellite navigation, plus risk assessment while at the wheel.

The DGT also plans to unveil a new system of sanctions for drug and alcohol offenders, making it more difficult for them to recover their licences.

More than 193,000 driving tests were cancelled last year in the wake of a slew of strikes by driving instructors locked in an ongoing pay dispute with the DGT.

The new rules - including previously announced changes to the ITV technical inspection - are set to be applied from May 20.

WEST BROMWICH ALBION football club has confirmed that four players are being probed over an alleged incident in Barcelona.

The unnamed quartet, who were in Spain for warm weather training with the rest of the club’s relegation-threatened squad, allegedly stole a taxi from a McDonald’s drive-through before dumping it outside their luxury hotel.

A source from the five star The One Hotel told UK media that a group of players returned drunk after a night out.

They left a set of taxi keys at reception before heading to their rooms, but the vehicle’s owner soon arrived accompanied by a police officer.

A statement posted on the club’ website said: “The club can confirm that four senior players were involved in an incident during this week's mid-winter training trip to Spain.

“The club has instigated its own investigation into the incident and the players will be subject to the full rigours of our internal disciplinary procedures.

“Until such time as that investigation has been completed, the club will not be making any further comment.”

The four players were reportedly quizzed at a local police station in the wake of the incident.

They had been staying in Cataluña for three days ahead of an FA Cup fifth round game at home to Southampton.

The Baggies are currently seven points from safety at the bottom of the Premier League.

A COSTA DEL SOL council has sparked outrage after it emerged that an ex-animal shelter boss jailed for slaughtering hundreds of cats and dogs continues to rake in cash from the facility.

The latest controversy comes just weeks after Carmen Marin, who formerly ran Torremolinos' municipal cat and dog sanctuary, was ordered to spend three years and nine months in prison in a landmark court decision.

She was found guilty of killing thousands of animals from 2008-2010, despite preaching a zero sacrifice policy.

But her company ‘Parque Animal’ [Animal Park] continues to own the lease on the public land where the shelter is built after agreeing a 50-year contract with the council in 1998.  

The site has been rented to a firm named Home Animals since 2012, according to reports.

And Marin also retains a second town hall deal covering a ‘caseta’ on the municipal fair ground that operates as a bar ‘throughout the year,’ and is allegedly sublet to a private individual on an illegal basis.

The Society for the Protection of Animals in Malaga has written to the mayor of Torremolinos, Jose Ortiz, to demand that he tear up the existing contracts and appoint a new board of directors “who prioritise the animals.”

The move is backed by president of Malaga City’s municipal shelter, Carmen Manzano, who told local media that it is “inexplicable” that Marin continues to profit from council contracts.

Ms Manzano is later this week due to meet with environment councillor Cesar Carrasco to discuss the issue, and she is set to suggest that a new board should include members of several Torremolinos-based animal associations plus former Parque Animal employees.

She will also offer to manage the facility in the short term, as the town currently lacks a municipal shelter, meaning stray or abandoned cats and dogs are taken elsewhere.

Marin was in December 2016 found guilty of systematically euthanising cats and dogs under her care "without any veterinary control or form of sedation, using inadequate methods and lower doses than recommended, causing prolonged agony."

The shelter received council money for each new arrival, and the killings generated huge profits which she blew on a range of perks including luxury holidays, expensive cars and cosmetic surgery.

She was eventually imprisoned in November 2017 after losing a string of appeals, while an ex-employee was recently handed a one-year sentence for aiding and abetting.

A number of local action groups have been campaigning for the contracts to be scrapped and accuse the town hall of “not lifting a finger,” despite a year of assurances and in the wake of a successful election campaign during which the shelter was exploited for “political gains.”

DRUGS POLICE have launched another spectacular swoop on the Costa del Sol.

It comes after five people were held and 3,500 kilos of cocaine worth around €120 million seized during raids on two properties in Estepona.

The haul is a record for Malaga Province and among the largest busts ever in Spain.

More than two tons of the drug were recovered from a house on an urbanisation near the H10 Estepona Palace Hotel, with the remainder hidden in containers of salt in an industrial unit.

Investigations remain open as detectives continue to probe the case, with further arrests not ruled out.

The sting is the string in a succession of recent anti-drug operations on the Costa del Sol.

Notorious cocaine kingpin Sito Miñanco was last week arrested in Algeciras, while the earlier seizure of cocaine-stuffed pineapples led to the arrest of 72-year-old mob boss ‘La Laca,’ thought to be the biggest smuggler in North Africa.

In December, police in Algeciras, Cadiz, unearthed six tonnes of Colombian cocaine worth €210 million in a container transporting bananas, ending what was a record year for seizures of the drug in Spain.

TEMPERATURES are set to plunge across Spain after a relatively mild weekend.

Weather alerts for snow will be in place from tomorrow (Monday) morning across northern parts of the country, including the provinces Segovia, Avila, Burgos, Leon, Palencia, Lleida, Tarragona, Navarra, La Rioja, Alava, Vizcaya, Gipuzcoa and Asturias.

The icy blast will also see cold weather alerts in Cuenca, Guadalajara, Avila, Burgos, Leon, Palencia and Zamora.

Strong winds will see yellow alerts for dangerous waves in Granada, Girona, A Coruña and Almeria.

Skies are expected to be cloudy nand some rain is also expected, especially in northern and coastal areas and the Balearic Islands, while storms are forecast in Cataluña, Valencia and northern Alicante.

String winds will also hit the Andalucian coast and the Canary Islands.

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