MAX BLOW Kirsty Maxwell’s death after plunging from Benidorm balcony WAS an accident as Spanish judge clears murder suspects
THE family of Benidorm plunge girl Kirsty Maxwell have been dealt a devastating blow after losing their fight to persuade judges her death was not an accident – with her murder suspects cleared.
Grieving parents Brian and Denise Curry had appealed a Spanish judge’s decision last September to shelve a criminal probe into her death and put five Brits made homicide suspects in the clear.
They went to a higher regional court to try to get the earlier ruling by Benidorm judge Ana Isabel Garcia-Galbis overturned. But today they faced the prospect of having to end their legal battle without the result they were looking for after the appeal was thrown out. Three Alicante-based judges announced their decision in a 10 page written sentence, insisting there was no “strong evidence” of criminality and nothing to indicate the 27-year-old had not jumped to her death after an alcohol-fuelled hen night out with friends in the famous Costa Blanca resort.
Newly-married Kirsty, from Livingston, West Lothian, died just before 8am on April 29 2017 after waking up and walking by mistake into a tenth-floor room at Apartamentos Payma in Benidorm’s Little England area next door to her friends’ room.
She plunged from room 10E where the five British men made the subject of a homicide probe had been partying moments after entering it.
The men – Joseph Graham; Ricky Gammon; Anthony Holehouse; Callum Northridge; and Daniel Bailey who are all from the Nottingham area – were today waking up to the news Kirsty’s parents’ appeal has failed and their court fight is almost certainly over.
The three judges based at Section Two of Alicante’s Provincial Court said: “Kirsty, affected by alcohol and after consuming the equivalent of 10 spirits the night before, appears to have left her apartment 9A and voluntarily entered 10E where the five men were.
“Nothing points to the contrary.
Kirsty Maxwell Charity set up in her memory by grieving family to support families of other victims killed abroad.
“Although it is true cocaine was found in the bathroom of apartment 10E and the dead woman’s fingerprints were discovered on an interior bathroom window, it has not been possible to obtain strong evidence of specific and individualised criminality in terms of the victim’s death in any of the five men investigated.”
It was not immediately clear this morning if Kirsty’s loved ones have been aware of the court decision.
Well-placed sources said the five British men, who were never formally charged with any crime as is customary in Spain where charges are only laid shortly before trial, would be waking up to the news as confirmation of the decision was sent to them overnight.
Roberto Sanchez, the five Brits’ defence lawyer, said: “I have been able to talk to one of them this morning.
“I am very happy professionally with the court decision and I imagine my clients are even happier than I am and looking forward hopefully to putting all this behind them.
“The huge media pressure around this case has meant that they couldn’t live their normal lives, especially Joseph.”
He added: “The court decision confirms the argument we’ve maintained since the beginning which was that this was a tragic accident in which my clients had no involvement whatsoever or contributed in any way to the final result of what sadly happened to Kirsty.”
The sentence states none of the men had criminal records in the UK for sex offences, despite reports early on in the case that Joseph Graham had once been questioned over an alleged rape and Kirsty’s husband’s Adam Maxwell’s insistence “something dark” had happened in apartment 10E.
The appeal judges said it was “logical and legitimate” Kirsty’s parents disagreed with the lower court ruling and believed the “loss of a young daughter in strange circumstances” could be the result of a criminal act by one of the five Brits. But they added: “It can only be concluded that the evidence points to her death being accidental, without there existing sufficient evidence of a crime being committed by any one of the men under investigation.
“A death in the fullness of life, when the victim was just 27, and had travelled to Benidorm to enjoy an event with 20 other friends, is very painful. But we are dealing here with criminal law.” The judges confirmed in their ruling Joseph, described as a POUNDS 49,000 Amazon worker when he was arrested after Kirsty’s death, had told police originally he was in plunge apartment 10E before offering “contradictory” information he was in apartment 10A and followed her to the room she fell from after she knocked on the door. And they confirmed he had consumed drink and drugs before Kirsty’s death. But they insisted neither fact “connected him criminally in any way” with the ensuing tragedy.
They said a missing button on a skirt Kirsty was wearing when she fell was found next to her body and there was no evidence to support the theory it had been ripped off by someone rather than coming loose when she hit the ground “very violently.” They ruled DNA found on her clothes with remains of the male Y chromosome were “insufficient” to reach any conclusions.
The judges stated, claiming the amount of alcohol Kirsty had drunk the night before could have influenced her behaviour the morning of her death: “No signs of violence were found on the victim or on Joseph Graham.” Referring to the appeal lodged by Kirsty’s family against the lower court ruling last year, said to have included claims from a police inspector the Scot’s plunge could respond to the ‘terror a person jumping from a burning building suffers’, they concluded: “This is no more than a testimony.
“It’s worthy of respect but it’s based solely on the peculiarity of why the victim, who ended up in the apartment of male strangers, finally jumped from the window.
“It’s an insufficient testimony for evidentiary purposes. The statements collected by the young woman’s parents, some time later, of people who offered in emails versions of what could have happened or information about the behaviour of the men investigated with the group of women before Kirsty’s death, are also insufficient.
“This information was not collected during the official investigation nor was it mentioned by witnesses statements were taken from.
“The statements grouped together by the young woman’s parents do not have sufficient guarantees to be worthy of further investigation through a court summons and the taking of formal statements.” Kirsty’s parents branded the Benidorm judge’s decision to mothball her probe last year as “farcical”, saying it left them angry and physically sick. Retired CID detective David Swindle, who has been helping the dead woman’s family, said Kirsty and her loved ones appeared to have been ‘let down by apparently irretrievable shortcomings in Spanish police, forensic and crime investigation procedures.’ He added: “Spanish police did not manage the crime scene, significant witnesses, exhibits and evidence as would be expected for such a tragic loss of a young life in unexplained, confusing circumstances.”
Homicide in Spain carries a ten to 15 year prison sentence.