Renata Gocha on her way to court on Thursday. | Alejandro Sepúlveda


Renata Gocha, the 46-year-old drunk driver who was sentenced to four years and nine months for the death of 15-year-old Paula Fornés, remains at liberty for now.

Coughing and wearing a face mask, she made a court appearance on Thursday. The prosecutor and the lawyer for the Fornés family argued that she should enter prison. Her defence opposed this, and the judge, Fernando Ruiz-Rico, ruled in her favour. Observing that her family roots are in Majorca, the judge added that there was no risk of her fleeing Majorca and Spain as the island is more or less cut off by both air and sea. These were the same reasons that the judge cited after passing sentence on her.

An appeal against her sentence to the Supreme Court is unlikely, but were there to be one, the deadline for filing an appeal has been suspended because of the state of alarm.

When delivering the sentence, the judge stated that Renata Gocha had shown total disregard for the lives of others. In the early hours of 24 June 2018, the car she was driving crossed into the pedestrian/bike lane on the coastal road in Sa Rapita. Paula Fornés and friends were walking home after celebrating the Sant Joan fiestas. She was killed and another girl was injured. When police caught up with the driver some time later, she was barely able to stand up because she was so drunk.

Four years is the maximum tariff for death caused by drunk driving. The additional nine months is for driving with a false licence.