Former mayor of Santiago del Teide receives custodial sentence and disqualification from office for reckless homicide of two women who died in Los Gigantes beach landslide tragedy

Updated 22 January 2019: By complete coincidence, it is nine years to the day that I last updated this post, and although things can take an incredible time here, often they do actually come to fruition at last. And so it is with the judgment of the former mayor of Santiago del Teide, Juan Damián Gorrín, who was being investigated for administrative failures leading to the death of two women in a rockfall at Los Gigantes beach in 2009. The former mayor has been sentenced to a year in prison and two years of disqualification from public office for reckless homicide, as well as five years disqualification for misconduct in public office. Two council technicians have also been sentenced to a year and a half in prison for reckless homicide and two years disqualified for misconduct.

Updated 22 January 2010: Juan Damián Gorrín, mayor of Santiago del Teide, has been found responsible for reckless homicide by the magistrate of Court Nº 3 de Arona, María Sagrario Tovar. In addition to the mayor, the municipal technical architect, Celso González González, and chief engineer of the provincial Costas service, Carlos González Pérez, were also found accountable of the same offence.

Article 142 of the law code establishes that anyone who causes the death of another through grave carelessness could face one to four years in prison for reckless homicide. The law also stipulates that when the homicide was committed by professional recklessness, there will be an additional ban from holding public office for between three and six years.  La Opinion, El Dia

Update 21 January: Mayor Gorrín has been in the Arona Courts today to give evidence to the inquiry into the tragedy at Los Gigantes’ Los Guíos beach on 1 November when two women died in a major landslide. The atmosphere outside the Courts was extremely tense, with the major so jostled and harangued that he had to be escorted by three police officers for his own safety.

The family of the Spanish victim of the disaster, Vanesa Arias, was there in force with placards and posters all clearly pointing the blame at Sr Gorrín for the alleged lack of notices on the beach when the incident happened. During today’s hearing a Department of Costas technician and an Ayuntamiento surveyor also gave evidence.  The inquiry continues.  RTVC

Original post 12 December: Arona’s Number 3 Court has called Mayor of Santiago del Teide, Juan Damián Gorrín, to give evidence and answer questions on the 21 January in the wake of the Police inquiry into the tragedy at Los Guíos beach when a rockfall killed two women on 1 November. In addition to Mayor Gorrín, a municipal technician and a representative from the Department of Costas have also been required to attend Court. The presence of further individuals may yet be demanded by the Court.

Sr Gorrín testified to the Guardia Civil inquiry that he did not actually know, as he had previously asserted, whether there were barriers in place marking off the tragic area as dangerous, but that he had been told this was the case by the lifeguard on duty. He further said that he had not received any recommendation to close the beach from municipal technicians or the Department of Costas. It appears now that this contradicts the evidence given to the Guardia Civil by the Chief of Santiago del Teide’s Policía Local.  El Dia


  1. Hello Janet,
    I spoke to Juan Damian Gorrin on Monday (28th) morning. He was cleaning his taxi in the Los Gigantes taxi rank.
    So he’s definitely not in prison!

    1. Author

      He received a custodial sentence which is different to going to prison in actual fact. A first offence with a sentence under two years never actually results in time spent inside but it remains on the record and counts for future offences. It’s equivalent I suppose to a suspended sentence

  2. Thanks for the update Janet. I was at the beach just after the rock fall and helped clear the rocks.

    The locals were cross at the time because this is now the third time rocks have fallen at the beach and still nothing had been done. It’s good to see that the mayor has been held accountable.

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