The suspect is taken to the court by an officer from the National Police. | A. Sepúlveda


The 25-year-old man, arrested on suspicion of murdering Esperanza Ferrutxe Frau in the Palma Es Fortí district last Wednesday, appeared in court yesterday morning and was ordered to be held on remand in Palma prison with bail being denied.

During the hearing, the suspect apparently failed to answer any of the question put to him by the judge, he just kept repeating that he could not remember anything because he had been drinking and had taken drugs.

The National Police Homicide Squad believes that the motive for the crime was robbery, the man having entered the home of the victim with the intention of stealing money and jewellery.

The accused had, for some years, lived with his family in the same building in the calle Port de Cariño as the murdered woman, who owned the property. His grandmother had continued living there when the rest of the family moved. Just before Christmas, the accused returned to Palma from Cartagena in order to stay with his grandmother.

When investigators went to the scene, they found the woman in her pyjamas and that the door had not been forced, which indicated that she had let in someone known to her. A footprint found on the ground floor of the building, which is where the victim lived, led to the arrest.

The suspect is said to have started a fire in order to destroy evidence. This was only partially successful. The fire crew's water did remove some of the evidence but not all, and an exhaustive examination by the forensic team led to the discovery of the imprint and subsequently to a cross-reference in the police database which suggested that someone with a previous record had been in the apartment.

The footprint matched that of the grandson and nothing more seems to have needed in order for him to confess. The Homicide Squad believes that some money and valuables were taken but that a need to leave as soon as possible prevented the accused - said to have a severe drug addiction - from making a more thorough search. The police don't consider, therefore, that anyone else might be implicated in the crime.

Esperanza Ferrutxe Frau, 45, was strangled and beaten to death around her head. Her body was discovered when a fire crew arrived to attend to what was a deliberate fire. The property was in a disorderly condition and there were bloodstains on various units.