Friday, January 28, 2011


Reporting on the news means that death and tragedy are all part of the daily menu.

Frequently it is gangland killing – the settling of accounts – as the Spanish police refer to it. More often than not these shootings involve British criminals operating on the Costa del Sol.

This week was rather different. I was writing about the disappearance of a 13-year old girl, María Esther Jimenéz, who was found dead 24 hours later having been bludgeoned to death with a brick. Her body was discovered by a fireman searching for her in the pump house of a swimming pool.

As my deadline was not to later this week I let the dust settle before going to the scene.

It turns out the girl I knew by sight. She lived next door to the car workshop I use and on a street I frequently park in.

The pool pump house is across the garden wall from the daughter of my one time neighbour who lives with her husband and two young children just yards from where the girl met her death.

She lived in a small village and during her last evening from sitting with friends in the bus shelter, to asking a bar for a drink of water, to finally meeting her death at the hands of her assassin – she was never more than four minutes from her front door.

The village was promised an arrest or arrests within days. If only life was that simple. It will take time. Meanwhile there is a child killer on the loose in their midsts and they fear for their youngsters.

On this occasion because I know the village, know the people, knew the girl by sight, use the pizza restaurant where she planned to celebrate her birthday and the place where she perished - it is not a news story – it is a shared tragedy.

Far too close for comfort!

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