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Last Updated: Thursday, 18 May 2006, 09:41 GMT 10:41 UK
Men jailed for Spanish murders
Anthony and Linda O'Malley

Two Venezuelan men have been jailed for a total of 116 years for the kidnap, torture and murder of a north Wales couple house-hunting in Spain.

The bodies of Anthony and Linda O'Malley, of Llangollen, but originally from Liverpool, were found in the cellar of a villa in 2002.

Jorge Real Sierra and Jose Antonio Velazquez Gonzales were found guilty of the killings by judges in Spain.

Real was jailed for 62 years and Velazquez for 54 years and six months.

Speaking after the verdict, Mr O'Malley's brother Bernard said: "It's been a long time. The last six weeks have been a long six weeks.

"I'm just relieved. It's the result we've been looking for."

Their trial, which ended last month, heard that Mr O'Malley, 42, died of asphyxia, and his wife, 56, had a heart attack brought on by stress.

The couple left their home in August 2002 to search for a retirement home on the Costa Blanca. A month later they disappeared.

Six months later, Spanish police discovered their bodies buried in the cellar of a villa in Alcoy.

Jorge Real Sierra and Juan Antonio Velazquez Gonzalez
Real (left) and Velazquez were found guilty by judges in Spain

The trial of the Venezuelan men took place in Alicante, Spain, in front of a panel of three judges. The judges heard the two men posed as owners of the villa, when in fact they were only renting it.

Real, 56, described as the author of the crimes, and his brother-in-law Velazquez, 40, lured the couple to the property then bound and gagged them and chained them in the cellar.

They apparently monitored their captives from a separate location via a webcam.

The judges heard that Mr O'Malley was regularly forced at gunpoint to withdraw large sums of money from a bank account the couple had opened in Benidorm, as part of their search for a retirement home.

He and his wife were then apparently killed simply because it became too troublesome to keep holding them.

Mr O'Malley had died from asphyxia. He had injuries to his neck, and had been gagged.

A plastic bag had been placed over his head and his hands and feet were bound.

Unlike her husband, the body of Mrs O'Malley showed no signs of asphyxia. A pathologist told the court she had died from a heart attack brought on by the stress of her ordeal.

Villa near Benidorm
The O'Malleys' bodies were found under a concrete floor

Their killers were caught when Real tried to extract thousands more pounds from the couple's relatives, claiming he was a private detective, that they were still alive and he could help secure their release.

He asked for 8,000 (11,600 euros) to act as a hostage negotiator, saying he would want more if the pair were freed.

In fact, the couple had already been killed and buried in the cellar of the villa five months before.

In his closing speech, the prosecutor said there was an "excess of evidence" proving Real and Velazquez were guilty.

He said it had always been their intention to kill the couple "in cold blood".

Real and Velazquez had denied kidnap and murder. But on Thursday, after six weeks' consideration, a panel of three judges in Alicante found them guilty of those offences as well as extortion and various fraud charges.


BBC NEWS: VIDEO AND AUDIO
See the convicted men being led from court



SEE ALSO:
Conmen's greed led to murder
18 May 06 |  Wales
Pair deny meeting murdered couple
28 Mar 06 |  North East Wales
Timeline: O'Malley murders
26 Mar 03 |  Wales



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