Page last updated at 16:47 GMT, Tuesday, 23 February 2010

Spanish roof collapse kills British expatriates

Map of Spain showing Rubite
There have been torrential rain storms in the region

A British expatriate couple have been killed as a roof collapsed on them in southern Spain.

Christopher and Christine Martin, both in their early 60s, were visiting British friends in Rubite, Granada, when the dining room roof fell in.

The homeowners were in the kitchen at the time of the accident on Monday and suffered minor injuries.

Investigators are looking at whether recent torrential downpours caused a landslide or subsidence.

They are also considering the possibility that the collapse was caused by a building defect in the "relatively modern" farmhouse.

'Fantastic' couple

A Foreign Office spokeswoman confirmed the deaths of two British nationals in Granada.

"It is believed the house they were staying in collapsed. We are in contact with the next of kin and are providing consular assistance to them," she said.

They enjoyed the sun and the beach, and they were happy here
Mayor Pedro Fernandez Garcia

It is understood the couple were buried under the rubble.

A spokesman for the rescue services said some residents in other parts of Granada had been evacuated from their homes as a precaution.

The local authorities have declared three days of mourning and suspended all cultural activities following the accident.

The Martins had a home in the nearby village of La Mamola. The mayor, who described himself as a neighbour and friend, told the BBC they were a "fantastic" couple, who had lived there for six years.

Pedro Fernandez Garcia said they were really integrated in the community and took part in the theatre club.

"They enjoyed the sun and the beach, and they were happy here," he added.

A service is due to be held for the couple in the village church on Friday.

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