Page last updated at 10:02 GMT, Tuesday, 17 March 2009

Spain bar owner jailed over noise


A Barcelona bar-owner has been jailed for five and a half years for injuring her neighbours with loud music.

It is the stiffest sentence ever imposed in Spain for such an offence.

Three people had suffered grave damage to their physical and mental health as a result of living next to the Donegal pub in Las Ramblas, the judge ruled.

Maria del Carmen Ahijado's unlicensed sound system had pumped out music from five speakers from 0900 to 0300 daily at levels in excess of the legal limit.

Ms Ahijado, who was also fined more than 17,000 euros ($22,000), had ignored several previous orders to turn the music down.

The judges described the noise, played from early morning until half-way through the night, as a form of torture. One neighbour had to seek treatment for anxiety, depression and insomnia.

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