Since she was first convicted for the crime by an Alicante court in 2009, María del Carmen García’s plight has become a source of controversy due to the extreme circumstances surrounding the death of the man who had raped her then 13-year-old daughter in 1998.
“I´m no murderer,” García has said to the media in the past, and many people, including thousands who have signed petitions requesting clemency for the mother, would seem to agree with that statement.
The man who attacked García's daughter was himself sentenced to nine years in prison for that crime. In 2005, while on parole, the rapist returned to the family´s hometown, Benejúzar, and ran into García. “How’s your daughter?” he asked her.
Her response was dramatic. She bought some petrol, walked into a bar, doused the convicted rapist and set him on fire. The man died a week later as a result of the burns he suffered.
The Supreme Court had already reduced García’s original sentence of nine and a half years due to what it accepted was partially diminished responsibility on her part at the moment of the killing. But, according to Spanish daily El País, the last of the family´s attempts to delay García’s incarceration was rejected by a court in Elche on Thursday.
Accompanied by her daughter and lawyer, Joaquín Galant, García was emotional as she headed towards the court. “I cannot take any more,” she cried out after taking part in two separate Spanish television shows.
In court Galant asked for a stay of 30 days on the application of the sentence due to the “serious mental illness” his client has suffered from since her daughter was raped while still a child. After the court refused, García headed for Fontcalent prison, in Alicante province. “My ordeal is over,” García said before spending her first night behind bars.
Supporters of García, including 20 professional and political organizations, have twice asked the Spanish government to use its power to pardon convicted criminals, but to no avail. Her lawyer said he would continue to fight for her release.