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Six police charged over drug addict's murder

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Six police charged over drug addict's murder
According to the autopsy, the victim died due to a crushed spine and had flesh wounds caused near the time of death. File photo of a police car: Shutterstock
12:17 CEST+02:00
A judge believes six police officers from the Spanish city of Cartagena murdered a man who had called them for assistance, taking him to a remote cove and beating him before dumping his body in the sea.

A judge in Cartagena, Murcia, sent six policemen to jail last week on suspicion of murdering a 44-year-old man who had called for help on the night of March 11th.

Diego Pérez Tomás, known to be a cocaine addict who suffered from schizophrenia, telephoned Cartagena police station at 9.39pm saying that a group of his neighbours in the Las Seiscientas” area of the city wanted to kill him over some stolen bicycles.

Later, as extracts from the judge’s report seen by ABC newspaper reveal, the night took a sinister turn.

After the dead man’s first phone call, a patrol went to visit Pérez at his home and tried to calm him down. However, at 4.39am Pérez called in again. He was incoherent and in an agitated state. The same police officers responded to the call, and Pérez was never seen alive again.

The agents have told their police interrogators that that they decided to take Pérez to Cala Cortina, a cove around two miles outside the city, in order to calm him down or in the words of one of those arrested, "to give him a fright".

The version of events as told by the six suspects holds that he ran away when they got to the beach, and that the reason the patrol cars left the scene only to return later on was due to their concern over Pérez’s whereabouts.

Investigators, who have had access to radio communications from the night of Pérez’s death, have also listened to testimony from a protected witness, who says that the six agents took Pérez to one of the patrol cars at which point one of them asked: “Are we taking him to the station?” His fellow agent replies: "No, we’re taking him to the lair".

"We’re bored, we’re playing hide and seek," said one of the officers over the radio when asked why there is so much activity around Cala Cortina that night.

At six in the morning, Pérez’s neighbours saw his door open with the lights on. His brother reported him as missing and Pérez’s body was eventually discovered floating in Cortina Cove on March 26th.

According to the autopsy, the victim died due to a crushed spine and had flesh wounds caused near the time of death. “The victim was already dead when his body entered the water,” the forensic report reads.

According to the judge, who has provisionally accused the six men, aged between 26 and 39, of illegal detention and murder, "it is probable that the detained man was beaten by one or several of the agents […] and that once death had resulted, they decided to get rid of the body by throwing it into sea by Cala Cortina".

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