Diego is back home, under sedation and psychiatric care. He is also in despair. He says the police treated him appallingly, which is perhaps understandable given what they had been told about the child’s death, but perhaps the most incredible part of his account is that they seem to have taken the little girl to a doctor after she fell off the swing. This doctor sent her home, saying that there was “no need for x-rays or anything”, and that she would be running around as normal in a few days. A few days later, of course, Diego took her to hospital, and his nightmare began.
He says that the worst part of the entire disaster that has befallen this family was when the Policía judicial showed him Aitana’s body in a photograph. He has not yet been able to speak to Aitana’s mother, who is currently in Madrid after the little girl’s funeral. He will be leaving for Madrid soon himself, it seems. Two things seem clear at the moment. He will not remember these islands with affection, and legal action against what is beginning to look like a litany of medical errors appears almost a certainty. El Dia
UPDATE November 30: Diego has been taken to hospital after collapsing. He was freed without charge after an autopsy confirmed that he had not killed his girlfriend’s child, but that her death was caused when she fell from a swing. His ordeal, however, has taken a terrible toll.
What contributed to his collapse was that he was not fully aware that the little girl was dead until he was released. His lawyer, Plácido Alonso, says that he has been living in an unreal world since then, being in a complete panic, vomiting, and being unable to sleep. When the full realization of the outcome of all the tragic events, and his own nightmare experience, had sunk in, he collapsed, and is now in a south Tenerife hospital, under sedation. Hopefully both his body and, particularly, his mind, will be able to begin to recover.
The body of little Aitana, meanwhile, was today transferred to Madrid, where she was buried this afternoon in a cemetary in the municipality of Parla. Canarias7
UPDATE 29 November: The now officially declared innocent Diego P.V., was released yesterday afternoon.
His abogado, pictured above with the briefcase walking behind Diego, has said that he is considering some kind of official complaint against the medical report given to the police. Obviously they are grateful to the doctors for trying to save the little girl’s life, but appalled in particular that the police were told there were indications of sexual abuse when the final forensic tests and the autopsy itself showed no physical abuse of any kind whatsoever.
The lawyer also made a point of criticizing the way the press jumped onto this young man”s case, describing him as an animal and an “asesino”, without waiting for evidence, and made him cower from verbal and physical abuse as he was moved from police station to court and back. This itself served to make him look as though he was cowering from “shame”, as it was reported. For the moment, however, Diego, who has stressed how much he cared for the little girl, is now at home surrounded by his own family, which has come en masse from Madrid to support him. La Opinion, Canarias7
UPDATE 2pm, 28 November: Whatever pressure was put on Diego P.V. to admit beating the child, the autopsy has now confirmed that she did, in fact, die from injuries acquired when she fell of a swing. It seems that internal bleeding took two or three days to cause the discomfort that saw her end up in hospital, and her mother’s boyfriend to be unjustly accused of her death. He has been released with his name cleared, with official sources saying that no human act caused the child’s death. Aitana’s mother and her boyfriend have both consistently asserted that neither did anything to cause the child any injury. Canarias7
28 November: The man accused of killing little Aitana has acknowledged to the Guardia Civil that the child did not acquire her injuries by falling off a swing, which seems to have been his initial story. During further investigations required by the Court, Diego P.V., as he has been identified, has apparently now admitted causing them, despite at one point withdrawing his original confession of hitting the little girl. He is still vehemently denying any sexual abuse, and the Guardia Civil’s original charges in this respect have been dropped since there was no forensic evidence to suggest it occurred.
For the moment, the Courts have declared the proceedings sub judice, and so it is unknown whether statements have been taken from Aitana’s 22-year-old mother, and whether the autopsy results have been returned. The only things that seem clear are that all the injuries were of recent causation, and that Aitana’s mother, Belén, might well be implicated in her daughter’s death, even if only in attempting to pervert the course of justice, since she has supported the story given to the Guardia Civil that her daughter suffered her injuries after falling off a swing.
Canarias7, La Opinion
Original Post 27 November: The whole of the Canaries has been in shock and mourning today, after the death late last night in Tenerife of a three-year-old girl apparently at the hands of her mother’s boyfriend. The child was initially taken to El Mojón hospital near Los Cristianos by the man himself after she suffered breathing difficulties and an apparent heart attack, but doctors treating her became suspicious after seeing various injuries and burns, and informed the police.
While the little girl, named as Aitana, was transferred to Candelaria hospital where she later died, her mother’s boyfriend was being questioned in connection with her injuries. Guardia Civil sources confirmed that the man, originally from Madrid, had lived with the child’s mother for several months in Costa del Silencio.
Initial press reports indicated that there had been a sexual assault in addition, but this now appears to have been an error, since final forensic tests on the dead child do not confirm sexual abuse. The autopsy results are still awaited, but her presumed killer has appeared in Arona’s Court 7 today, where he admitted hitting her, but no more. In view of his denial of involvement in her death, the Court has ruled that he should be kept in custody for the legally permitted maximum of 48 hours for initial investigations.
The Canarian Government and the Parliament of the Canaries held a minute’s silence in memory of the dead child at lunchtime today, an act of sympathy, respect, and outrage that was mirrored all over the Canaries. La Opinion, Canarias7