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Last Updated: Tuesday, 15 November 2005, 14:16 GMT
Police to probe killer's UK past
A British man has been jailed for 36 years for murdering a teenage girl in Spain in August 2003. Detectives want to question him about a number of murders and rapes in Britain. The case highlights the dangers of sex offenders travelling across the EU.

When the British barman was arrested on suspicion of the murder of Sonia Carabantes in the summer of 2003 the question on everybody's lips was: "Who is he?"

Timeline
Tony King is led into court by a Spanish police officer
1986: Tony Bromwich is jailed for 10 years for a series of sex attacks in north London
1995: He leaves jail and changes name by deed poll to King
1997: Moves to Spain with his wife, Cecilia
1999: Separates from Cecilia.Rocio Wanninkhof killed
Aug 2003: Murders Sonia Carabantes, 17, in Coin, Spain
Nov 2005: Convicted of murder and jailed for 36 years

Only later did it emerge that the man who told Spanish police he was Tony King was better known to British detectives as Tony Bromwich.

Bromwich had been jailed for 10 years in 1986 for a series of sex attacks in north London which earned him the sobriquet "the Holloway Strangler".

He was released from jail in 1995.

In 1997 he moved to the Costa del Sol with his Spanish wife, Cecilia, but the couple separated two years later.

She told the court she had suspected him of being involved in the murder of another girl, Rocio Wanninkhof, 19, who was killed in 1999.

But she did not go to the police until after the murder of 17-year-old Sonia, whose body was found partially covered by rocks near the town of Coin on 14 August 2003.

Sonia Carabantes and Rocio Wanninkhof
Rocio Wanninkhof (right) was killed four years before Sonia Carabantes
She had been strangled, beaten and stripped.

On that night King came to see her, with his face scratched and his clothes covered in blood.

Mrs King went to Spanish police and handed over all her estranged husband's personal documents, including his passport and a deed poll certificate which showed he had changed his name.

Spanish police soon arrested him and then contacted their colleagues in Britain, who were interested to take the call.

Further investigations

Scotland Yard had wanted to speak to King, 40, about a number of unsolved murders and rapes which they thought might fit his modus operandi.

Ten officers were deployed to Operation Washfield, as it became known, which began to dig into King's past while liaising with police in Spain.

Commander Andy Baker, one of the Yard's most senior detectives, admitted the murder of 13-year-old Milly Dowler was among those they were investigating.

Milly vanished on her way back to her home in Walton-on-Thames, Surrey in March 2002. Her body was found in Hampshire six months later.

Milly Dowler
Police want to talk to King about the murder of Milly Dowler

Police forces in five different parts of Britain want to talk to King about a total of four murders and two rapes.

King admitted to murdering Sonia and Rocio when first interviewed by police in Spain but he retracted his confessions at the beginning of his trial.

The Tony King case highlights the problem of keeping tabs on sex offenders within the European Union.

When King was arrested the then Spanish interior minister, Angel Acebes, admitted the authorities had received a warning about King in 1998, which had been passed on by Interpol from British police.

Mr Acebes, who was ousted in 2004 when the government was turfed out in the wake of the Madrid train bombings, said at the time the warning was "about certain records in Britain and the activities that this individual was involved in".

But he pointed out the Spanish police received thousands of similar messages each year.

Tony King and Tony Bromwich
King changed his name from Bromwich after leaving jail

Plans are afoot to improve the system of information-sharing between European police forces but it is not clear when the system will come into effect.

Forces across Europe are aware of the problem which was last highlighted with the case of British teenager Caroline Dickinson, who was murdered in France by a Spaniard who had committed crimes all over Europe.

King will serve 30 years in prison in Spain but he can expect plenty of visitors during that time as British detectives queue up to talk to him.




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