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CRIME

Convicted ‘elevator rapist’, released early in 2013, arrested again for sex crimes

His early release in 2013 sparked outrage and worry across Spain. Now he has again been arrested, accused of four acts of sexual assault.

Convicted 'elevator rapist', released early in 2013, arrested again for sex crimes
Screenshot from police footage of the arrest.

Pedro Luis Gallego, better known as the “elevator rapist”, was arrested on Wednesday in Segovia, accused of four acts of sexual assault, two of which were attempted assault, El Mundo reports. The crimes happened in the area near La Paz (The Peace) hospital, now earning him the name of “the rapist of peace.”

Gallego was previously convicted in 1992 for killing two young women aged 17 and 19, as well as for committing 18 rapes and sexual assaults. He was sentenced to serve more than life in prison: 273 years.

During his attacks, he used his profession as an elevator mechanic to access the hallways of his victims, and then force himself onto them when they approached the elevator, thus earning him the name “elevator rapist”.

A European Court of Human Rights later overruled a Spanish doctrine that had restricted his ability to be released early, and he was then set free in 2013.

Gallego is not the only convicted rapist released in 2013 who to be arrested for re-offending. One man dubbed the “stiletto rapist” was arrested for attacking a woman just four months after his release, El Mundo reports.

CRIME

Spain police start wearing bodycams to boost security

Spanish police have begun wearing body cameras to record their interactions with the public in a move aimed at ensuring greater security that is gaining ground in Europe and the US.

Spain police start wearing bodycams to boost security

The interior ministry said the bodycam was launched Monday and would be “rolled out on a gradual basis to all police officers”, without saying how many were involved in the initial stages.

Spain’s TVE public television said the tiny cameras were being attached to the officers’ uniforms and could be activated either manually or automatically.

The main Spanish police union JUPOL hailed the move on Twitter, saying it was in response to “a request that the union has been making”.

“It will guarantee security, both for us to avoid any kind of misrepresentation of our interventions, as well as for the public, who will be able to clearly see the police’s professionalism and that there is no abuse of power nor excesses,” union spokesman Pablo Pérez told TVE.

Forces in Europe and the United States are increasingly turning to such technology to boost transparency following a string of fatal shootings and other claims against police over the past decade.

“The cameras are being used under public safety protocols in order to record everything that happens in the event of an unwarranted offence during an operation,” Spanish Interior Minister Fernando Grande Marlaska told TVE ahead of the rollout.

“If they are activated, it is to guarantee security and really be transparent so that the officers’ actions can be seen and checked,” the minister said.

“This means security for both the police and the public,” he added, suggesting that in time, they would also be available to Spain’s Guardia Civil rural police force.

France began trialling bodycams, known as “pedestrian cameras”, in 2013
before a gradual rollout in 2015 in a move welcomed by police, but greeted with scepticism by rights groups who said there was no guarantee they would be always activated.

Police in London and New York also began pilot schemes in 2014 with credit-card-sized cameras clipped onto their uniforms with the technology gradually deployed over the following years.

But the cameras have had mixed success. The absence of any legal obligation governing their use can also limit their scope to uncover police misconduct.

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