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CRIME

Irish-British family found shot dead in Spain

A family of three found shot dead in a Spanish villa in a suspected double-killing and suicide were an Irish mother and daughter with a Kenyan-born British father, police said on Thursday.

Irish-British family found shot dead in Spain
Police are investigating the deaths of three British citizens in Torrenueva. Photo: Jorge Guerrero/AFP

Police found the dead bodies of the three with bullet wounds on Wednesday in a house near the city of Malaga on Spain's Costa del Sol and initially said they were all British.

A Civil Guard spokesman told AFP on Thursday however that they were a mother aged 54 and a daughter aged 28, both of Irish nationality, and a father of 56 who was a British passport-holder born in Kenya.

They had been living in the house for seven years, added the spokesman, who asked not to be named.

He also declined to name the family members, saying that their details had been passed to the British and Irish embassies in Spain.

Police sealed off the yellow villa and its garden with palm trees and swimming pool in the Torrenueva district of Mijas, a town southwest of Malaga.

A Civil Guard source who asked not to be named told AFP on Wednesday: "An initial hypothesis is being considered that… the man killed the woman and then his daughter and then committed suicide."

Several Spanish media cited unnamed sources saying that the mother was disabled and the daughter had Down's Syndrome, but officials would not confirm this.

Media quoted officials and neighbours saying the family had been renting the house for several years.

Reports said the owner of the property had found the family there dead when he visited after not hearing from them for several weeks.

A spokesman for the British embassy in Madrid said: "We are aware of these reports and we are investigating urgently."

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CRIME

Shock as Spain tells foreigners how to cancel their criminal record 

Spain's Justice Ministry has caused outrage after it sent out a tweet explaining how foreign nationals can cancel their criminal record online themselves in order to gain Spanish citizenship. 

Shock as Spain tells foreigners how to cancel their criminal record 

It may seem like a dark joke sent out by a disgruntled civil servant, but Spain’s Justice Ministry has indeed informed the country’s 6 million foreigners – including those who’ve committed crimes in the past – how to wipe their criminal history from the system.

“Criminal records can be a problem when it comes to obtaining Spanish nationality or applying for or renewing residence permits,” the ministry headed by Pilar Llop tweeted on Sunday. 

“Here we explain step by step how to request the cancellation of criminal records,” the Justice Ministry went on to say, followed by a link to a video describing the process. 

In the video posted on June 7th 2022, which has so far more than 24,000 views, a narrator goes on to explain that through the digital transformation process that the Justice Ministry is currently undergoing, it’s possible for anyone to personally and officially delete their own criminal record.

“That means that your sentence can be cancelled without you having to apply for it,” the video stressed.

This reportedly applies to both criminal records and sexual conviction records.

Logically, the tweet has caused a mix of incredulity and anger on the Spanish twittersphere, with comments such as “they’re mad”, “is it a joke?”, “God save us” or “instead of kicking foreign criminals out they’re helping them”.

The truth is that the possibility of expunging a criminal record in Spain has already existed for 27 years, as has the option of a foreigner with a criminal record being able to obtain Spanish nationality.

What has changed is the possibility of an automated system allowing citizens, Spanish nationals and foreigners alike, to carry out the expunging process online themselves, rather than having to apply for the Justice Ministry to do it for them. 

What’s also novel, many would say alarming, is that Spain’s Justice Ministry has made this public knowledge to many more people in Spain after their tweet went viral. 

Artículo 136 of Spain’s Penal Code allows people with a criminal record to cancel it once a certain period of time has elapsed and if they have not committed any other felony since the initial sentence. 

For those with minor sentences, the criminal record can be removed after six months whereas for serious crimes (5+ years in prison) the wait is ten years, higher if they’re charged with more than one crime. 

However, there doesn’t appear to be any lifetime prohibition from expunging criminal records for those who have committed the most heinous crimes, meaning that foreign rapists, murderers and paedophiles could technically cancel their criminal records if they met the aforementioned conditions and become Spanish nationals.

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