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CRIME

Mijas murderer saw ‘no way out’: reports

Financial and health stresses led a UK man living in southern Spain to kill his wife and daughter before committing suicide, UK and Spanish media reported on Friday.

Mijas murderer saw 'no way out': reports
The Mijas home where the bodies of the three family members were found on Wednesday. Photo: Jorge Guerrero/AFP

Police found a suicide note in the home in the Mijas district of Torrenueva where the bodies of the three family members were found on Wednesday, Spain's ABC newspaper reported on Friday.

"Our life has become suffering, and we can't take it anymore," the note read, according to the national daily, which went to the indicate the deaths were a murder–suicide.

Also on Friday, the UK's Daily Mail newspaper named the three family members as Philip Wood, 56, his 54-year-old wife Sheila Wood, and their daughter Sophie, who was 27.

In the Daily Mail article, Sheila's Wood's brother alleged that her husband had killed both her and their daughter before committing suicide.

He thought it was the "only way out", the brother was quoted as saying.

The brother said both financial and health problems had made life increasingly difficult for the Woods.

Philip Wood had lost his job in April 2012 while his wife was facing imminent kidney failure, the brother said.

The brother said the murder–suicide must have seemed like the only solution.

The Wood family had lived in Spain for 10 years, family in Ireland said.

According to Spain's ABC newspaper, police investigators were "clear from the start" that Wood had used the same weapon to kill himself as the one he used to murder his wife and daughter.

The paper also indicated that possible financial reasons were being looked at as a motive.

The daily said toxicology reports would if Sheila and Sophie had been sedated and sleeping at the time they were shot.

Both the Daily Mail and ABC newspapers stressed the Sophie Wood had brain damage, and not Down's syndrome as had been previously reported.

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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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