Saturday, January 29, 2011

The Brit, the lesbian, the priest...and a terrible miscarriage of justice

In 2001 Dolores Vázquez was found guilty of murdering Rocío Wanninkhof, a 19 year old woman in a small southern town.

During testimony, Vázquez was described as hombruna, [‘man-ish’ or butch] with a violent temper. A host of witnesses were called in, including a spiritual medium, a priest, two (Ukrainian) maids, and a barman. The priest said that when he told Vázquez of the death, she began vomiting, which could have been a sign that she was possessed.

Vázquez had been involved in an intimate relationship with Wanninkhof’s mother and one of the first ever public juries eventually found that she had killed Wanninkhof because she blamed the teenager for problems between them. The court sentenced her to 15 years in prison, but after serving over a year in prison on appeal, DNA on a cigarette butt at the murder scene shifted the investigation’s attention Tony King, a British expat, already serving a 36-year sentence for the August 2003 rape and murder of another teenager.

In 2006 King was sentenced to 19 additional years for the murder of Wanninkhof.

According to a recent news report, “Dolores, or Loli as her friends and family call her, is now waiting for the State to compensate her for the miscarriage of justice, confirmed by the arrest and imprisonment of Tony King. Her solicitor has asked for four million euros to compensate for the time Vázquez served in prison and the media harassment and personal damages she endured. The Ministry of Justice has made an offer of 120,000 euros.”

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