Costa del Sol News - 23rd March 2009

News from Andalucia & Costa del Sol

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Week March 23rd -

Xerez's president resigns over shooting

By David Eade

The president of Xerez soccer club, the current Division 2 leaders, has resigned after a shooting at a late night drinking club.

Joaquín Bilbao was released by police without bail following his appearance before a judge on Thursday after having spent the day in custody.  He stressed he had taken the decision to step down in order to prevent the club from becoming embroiled in the case. Sr Bilbao insists that he is totally innocent, saying that is why he was set free without bail or conditions.

The events happened in the early hours of last Tuesday morning at the Los Hierros de Jerez drinking club, which is run by two Russians. It is understood that a small-calibre gun was fired five times with two shots hitting the door of the then closed club and a window.  Nobody was injured in the shooting.

Along with Sr Bilbao, the driver of a vehicle was also detained on Wednesday afternoon. It was from this car that the shots were said to be fired and the driver acted as a frequent chauffer for the Xerez president...

Farewell to Alastair Boyd

By David Eade

Alastair Boyd died in Ronda last Thursday at the age of 81. Although he was Lord Kilmarnock he will forever be associated with the town of Ronda and the wider Serranía region.

Alastair Boyd was the head of the Clan Boyd and succeeded to the title Lord Kilmarnock following his father's death in 1975. After taking a degree at King's College, Cambridge he did his National Service in the Irish Guards in Palestine from 1947 to 1948 and later entered his father's business in the City of London.

He first discovered Ronda in Easter Week in 1953 and described the town thus: "through half-closed eyes and the filter of much romantic reading, a mighty Arab fortress roseate in the evening sun."

A lifelong Hispanophile he settled in Ronda with his first wife Diana Mary Gibson in 1957. He opened a bar that was shut down by the authorities after a brawl, then opened a language school in the Casa de Mondragón. In 1966, in the company of a Spanish friend, he took a horse trek from Ronda to Almeria crossing the Alpujarras and returning via Granada, a journey that formed the basis of the book 'The Road from Ronda'. He had been friends with Gerald Brenan and is said to have been to the Serranía de Ronda what Brenan was to the Alpujarras.

After years back in the UK, during which time he sat in the House of Lords, in 1995 he returned to Ronda permanently with his second wife, Hilly. She had been previously married to Kingsley Amis and is the mother of the author Martin. It was in this latter period that he became known as a crusader in defence of the environment in the Serranía..

High court confirms prison sentence for Irishman

McArdle can appeal to the Supreme Court or plea for a suspended jail sentence

By David Eade

The Andalucía High Court (TSJA) has confirmed the two year jail sentence handed down by the Málaga court on Irishman Dermot McArdle for the manslaughter of his wife, Kelly-Anne Corcoran, in Marbella on February 11, 2000.

He and his wife along with their then three-year-old son arrived in Spain and checked into Marbella's Don Pepe hotel on the day of the tragedy. After a furious row on the couple's bedroom balcony she fell to the ground below and later died from her injuries in the Hospital Costa del Sol.

After a lengthy battle against extradition McArdle stood trial in Málaga with his defence arguing that the case should be dismissed as his wife accidentally fell from the balcony. The jury found him guilty of manslaughter and not murder, stating that although he caused her fall it was not a premeditated act.

The defence appealed the Málaga court ruling, arguing again that her death was an accident. However the Andalucía High Court declared that because of the level of violence that would have had to have been used for the wife to go over the terrace, the lower court's verdict of manslaughter and prison term should stand.