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CRIME

Nursing home killer lands 127-year sentence

A judge on Friday handed a former security guard at a Spanish retirement home 127 years in prison for the murder of 11 elderly residents. He was also ordered to pay large fines to the families of his victims.

Nursing home killer lands 127-year sentence
Joan Vila Dilme said he murdered the old people to "end their suffering". Photo: YouTube

Joan Vila Dilme, dubbed "the angel of death", was found guilty on June 11th by a unanimous jury decision at a court hearing in the northeast Spanish town of Girona.

Prosecutors had originally wanted a 194-year jail term for the 45-year-old.

On Friday, however, the judge presiding over the case settled on a 127-year sentence for the killer.

He will serve a maximum of 40 years, Spain's La Vanguardia newspaper reported, also on Friday.

Vila Dilme will also have to pay fines of €369.000 ($490,000) to the families of his victims.

In his sentence, the Judge said it had been proven to Vial Dilme administered descaling acid, bleach and drugs to his victims.

The result had been "extraordinary suffering" and then death.

The court also said that Vila Dilme had acted in a premeditated fashion and "wanted to kill" his victims.

Reading out his statement, the judge also dismissed defence lawyer claims that the killer had been suffering from mental problems which "could have prevented him for understanding his actions".

Vila Dilme, a security guard at the La Caritat home in Olot, in Spain's Catalonia region, was arrested in October 2010 after the death of an 85-year-old woman in a local hospital.

He later confessed to her murder, saying he had made her drink bleach.

He also owned up to the murder of two other elderly people, which he said were carried out in order to "end their suffering".

Eight other murders, committed between August 2009 and October 2010, later came to light, with the victims given overdoses of insulin or various fatal pharmaceutical cocktails in a case which has stirred high emotions in the country.

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BARCELONA ATTACKS

Spain marks five years since Catalonia jihadist attacks

A ceremony was held in Barcelona on Wednesday in memory of 16 people killed in jihadist attacks in the Catalan city and a nearby resort exactly five years ago.

Spain marks five years since Catalonia jihadist attacks

Dozens of people observed a minute’s silence on the tree-lined Las Ramblas boulevard where on August 17, 2017 a van mowed down pedestrians, leaving a trail of death.

As a cellist played a traditional Catalan song, relatives of the victims and officials laid white carnations in front of a memorial plaque marking the spot where the van came to a halt.

Among those attending were Transport Minister Raquel Sánchez, Culture minister Miquel Iceta, the president of the regional government of Catalonia Pere Aragonès, and Barcelona mayor Ada Colau.

“This date used to be just another day in the calendar. Now on August 17 you always wake up with a knot in your stomach,” Colau told public television TVE just before the ceremony.

The attacks, which also left 140 people injured, were carried out by a cell made up mostly of young people of Moroccan descent who grew up in Catalonia. They were claimed by the Islamic State group.

The first attack took place on the famous Ramblas avenue in Barcelona, where a truck rammed into passers-by, killing 14 people, mostly foreign tourists. The youngest victim was a three-year-old boy.

Relatives of victims hold white carnation flowers to place at Las Ramblas Boulevard in Barcelona, on August 17, 2022, as the city marks the fifth anniversary of the 2017 jihadist attacks in Barcelona and Cambrils that left 16 people dead. – A van rammed into crowds on Las Ramblas Boulevard in the heart of Barcelona on August 17, 2017, igniting four days of terror. (Photo by Josep LAGO / AFP)

The driver, who had killed a 30-year-old man to steal his car while fleeing, was shot dead a few days later by the police.

Several hours after the first attack, five accomplices drove into more pedestrians and stabbed a woman who later died of her injuries in Cambrils, a seaside resort 100 kilometres (60 miles) to the south. All five suspects were shot dead by police.

In a tweet, Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez said Barcelona and Cambrils had “suffered hate and terror in their streets”.

“Five years later, we remember the victims of these attacks with our sights set on continuing to build a future of peace,” he said.

A Spanish court in 2021 found three men guilty of assisting the perpetrators of the attacks and sentenced them to eight, 46 and 53 years in jail.

But last month, a court reduced by 10 years the sentences of the two men who had received the longest jail terms. The third convict was granted parole in September 2021.

A handful of protesters who accuse the Spanish government of being behind the attacks jeered and chanted during the moment of silence and held up signs that read: “We demand the truth”.

The protest was called by several small Catalan separatist groups and some of the signs held up by the participants had Catalan separatist flags.

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