THIS week Majorca has been shaken by the events which unfolded in Calas de Mallorca last Monday. A seven-year-old girl was seriously injured when she fell from the balcony of the fifth floor hotel room she was sharing with her mother.
Her mother, 45-year-old Sara Cooper subsequently disappeared. Her body was found by police divers two days afterwards in the water just a few metres away from the hotel where she had been staying; a subsequent autopsy revealed that she had drowned.
Detectives from Palma National Police are waiting to question the seven-year-old whose condition is improving although she still has a long way to go. Police hope that the little girl will be able to shed light on what happened in that Calas de Mallorca hotel room on that Monday morning.
There has been plenty of speculation in the media but so far police have made no real official comment.
They believe that the seven-year-old either accidentally fell from the balcony or was pushed. The safety rail of the hotel balcony is almost as high as the little girl, according to police. All this week detectives from the National Police have been interviewing witnesses and searching the hotel rooms of the family. One witness, who allegedly saw Sara Cooper go into the water in Calas de Mallorca early last Monday, is still being sought by police. It is believed that she has returned to Britain.
Other eyewitnesses recounted to both the police and the media how they saw the little girl shortly after the fall. The Cooper family had taken two separate hotel rooms; father and two boys shared one and the other was left for mother and daughter. There has been speculation in the media that Sara Cooper actually went to her husband´s room after her daughter fell. Some newspapers have reported that she told one of her sons that she was going to run away.
The Cooper family, in two separate statements issued through the Foreign Office, have praised local hospitals and the team from the British Consulate. They have also asked for their privacy to be respected by the media.
The case is making headline news both in Britain and in Spain. A sizeable number of British journalists were on the island this week to cover the story. The Daily Bulletin´s website received thousands of hits in the space of a few days.
The media coverage of the story in Britain, and the alleged antics of some journalists there, prompted the Central Government Delegate Ramon Socias to question their professional ethics. Socias also asked for the privacy of the family to be respected. The British Ambassador to Spain, telephoned Socias to thank him and offer her support.
The Central Government Delegate also said that the case in the media coverage had shadows of Madeleine McCann.
Back in the Cooper´s home town of Foxton, in Cambridgeshire, a vigil was held on Thursday night at their local church. More than sixty people attended the event. They all stressed that the Coopers were a normal and happy family. The events of the last seven days had obviously come as a major shock.
The local vicar praised local doctors who were caring for the seven year old and underlined the sorrow felt within the community at the death of Sara Cooper.
This case has also underlined the differences which exist between British and Spanish reporting standards. We at the Bulletin decided not to publish the photograph of the little girl eventhough it had appeared in all the media in Britain and some in Spain. The photograph had not been issued by the family and therefore we decided not to publish it.
This is an exceptionally sad case and the police investigation could take months to complete. There are plenty of unanswered questions which the police need to investigate. The police have made it clear that they will question the seven-year-old when her medical condition will allow it.
The Cooper case is expected to once again feature in today´s British Sunday newspapers.