FIVE police officers have been sentenced to four years in prison over the death of a man in Costa Blanca.
A sixth officer would also have joined them, but he died of pancreatitis in custody before the trial.
In a plea-bargain, his colleagues admitted taking Diego Perez against his will to a secluded bay in Cartagena, and did nothing to help avoid his death.
The events were traced back to 11th March 2014, when the deceased called the National Police after receiving death threats from his neighbours for stealing their bicycle.
Two weeks later, his body was found floating in the sea at Cala Cortina, some four kilometres away from his home.
Initial investigations were focused on his neighbours. But a witness, who had to be placed in protective custody, said he saw three police cars at Diego’s house, and the officers, while hitting him, forced him into one of the vehicles.
Traffic cameras traced their journey to the beach, and, when arrested in October the same year, all six officers claimed that although they ignored police protocol, they did not make the victim come with them.
On arrival at their destination, they said he ran away, and, when he was found dead, they presumed he had drowned.
However, an autopsy revealed that Diego had died before ending up in the sea and had multiple head traumas and several broken vertebrae.
Originally, the officers faced up to 24 years in prison for murder and unlawful arrest. But in court, it was agreed that they had taken the victim to the beach against his will, but they did not kill him.
They were each sentenced to two years in prison for involuntary manslaughter, and a further two years for unlawful arrest.
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