FROM a brand new king to the uplifting story of Ashya King, 2014 was a right royal year for Spain making international headlines, many first brought to you by the Olive Press. So ring out the old with our review of the stories that left us shaken and stirred.
Right royal mistake
Spain’s royal crime case of the century saw Princess Cristina (right) charged with fraud and money laundering, alongside her husband Inaki Urdangarin. Money laundering charges have now been dropped but the tricky royal is set to stand trial for tax fraud in 2015.
And the The Olive Press uncovered ‘the Spanish Auschwitz for animals’, exposing shocking photos of live dogs caged with their dead companions in Sevilla. Activists broke into the centre to free 200 captive canines overnight.
Twits of the year
Spain’s national police shared its top tips for drug-smugglers, via Twitter. “It’s better if you’ve already rolled them [joints] and hide them where the sniffer dogs can’t detect them, a cigarette packet maybe?” Does that make them Twits of the Year?
Were you ready?
Expats throughout Spain and Gibraltar were left in the dark by the Big TV Switch Off on February 4. The programming disaster spawned a glut of gizmos and gadgets for bringing Auntie Beeb & Co back into our lives.
European migration became a hot topic after Spanish border guards fired rubber bullets at Africans attempting to swim from Morocco to Ceuta, leading to the deaths of at least 12 people.
Europe’s biggest ever anti-fraud operation saw 84 arrests in boiler rooms across Spain, including 75 Brits. A huge stash of guns, cash, jewellery and luxury cars were seized by more than 300 police officers.
The Oscars were all of a twitter when the Academy’s live Twitter feed mistook Penelope Cruz (right) for Salma Hayek (above). Well, they are both Latinas.
Theatre of dreams
Gibraltar proudly unveiled audacious plans for its new 8,066-seat UEFA football stadium. Nine months on, it’s still an unconfirmed fixture, amid protests over the proposed Europa Point location.
Rumours were rife of a sovereign visit to Gibraltar. It would be the first time the Queen sets foot on the Rock in 60 years but it turned no official plans have been announced as yet.
A British millionaire businessman was shot dead in Estepona by his jealous ex-girlfriend but it was no crime of passion. Slovakian model Mayka Kukucova (right) allegedly lay in wait for two days inside his home before killing him.
Missing teenager Amy Fitzpatrick’s step-father, Dave Mahon, was charged with her older brother Dean’s murder. Dean, a father-of-one, was stabbed outside his Dublin home, reportedly after confronting Dave about Amy’s disappearance in La Cala.
Not as good as Goldman
The Olive Press revealed that convicted fraudster Nigel Goldman was back in business under new name ‘Howard del Monte’. In a four-page expose we discovered the web of criminal personalities surrounding the conman. It became very clear that ‘all that glitters is not Goldman’…
The Olive Press travelled to Ceuta and Morocco to meet the migrants who had fled their war-torn and poverty-stricken homelands to reach European soil.
Small party hits the big time
Europe’s parliamentary elections saw UKIP take an unwanted seat in Gibraltar, while Pablo Iglesias and his anti-corruption party Podemos made their grand entrance in Spain.
Long live the King
Spain welcomed its new monarch on June 19. King Felipe VI succeeded his father Juan Carlos, along with his former journalist wife, the new Queen Letizia. Approval ratings for the former king’s reign increased from 41% to 65% following his abdication. His jumbo mistake was going on that €10,000-a-day elephant shoot …
Casa de Putin
The Olive Press hit the Presidential trail, gaining unprecedented access to Spain’s exclusive La Zagaleta estate to discover the truth behind the rumours that Vlad Putin was building a €19 million palace in the grounds.
The tiny village of Castrillo Matajudios – or Fort Kill Jews – was rechristened the more ‘PC’ Castrillo Mota de Judios – Hill of Jews. A case of anti-semitic semantics.
Smash the spiking
The Olive Press went undercover in Puerto Banus and Magaluf to reveal the shocking failure of authorities to police drink-spiking, leaving tourists and locals at risk of sexual assaults and muggings. We launched the ongoing ‘Smash the spiking’ campaign to bring the problem into the public eye.
Pamplona’s iconic San Fermin bull-running festival took to the streets, with the Olive Press in hot pursuit, always ready to grab the proverbial by the horns to bring you the news as it happens.
We cornered a mental health nurse, David Hill – previously jailed in Britain for torturing an 85-year-old dementia patient – giving unlicenced Botox injections on the Costa del Sol.
Orlando Bloom (below left) and Justin Bieber (below right) had starring roles in what became known as ‘history’s most pathetic celebrity scuffle’ – a rum punch-up on the party island of Ibiza.
Norwegian expat rape victim, Goril Hvidsten, spoke out against her three attackers after she was raped on a night out in Alicante province, having had her drink spiked.
Cancer boy Ashya King’s family triggered an international manhunt after they were accused of snatching their son from his UK hospital bed and fleeing to their Costa del Sol home, just metres from the Olive Press office. Ashya is now recovering well in Spain after undergoing treatment in Prague.
When Irish gangster Gerard ‘Hatchet’ Kavanagh was shot dead in broad daylight in a packed Elviria shopping centre, the Olive Press was the first newspaper on the scene.
The Rock’s big day
What’s red and white and proud all over? Gibraltarians on their National Day.
Give a dog a bone
Kim’s Animal Rescue Centre near Mijas went into to crisis, following allegations of neglect and abuse. The Olive Press stepped in with a campaign to gather volunteers, donations of food, bedding and offers of homes so that every dog could have its day. It remains a work in progress.
Ebola and out
The virus of the year arrived in Spain, when nurse Teresa Romero Ramos was diagnosed with Ebola in Madrid. Despite fears of a country-wide epidemic, the only permanent casualties were her dog, Excalibur, and the career of disgraced Health Minister Ana Mato.
Missing girl mystery
The hunt for missing expat Agnese Klavina made international headlines after the Olive Press exclusively revealed that three men had been arrested for her kidnap. The news came amid rumours that the Mayor of Marbella’s stepson had been out partying with the 30-year-old on the night she disappeared. But the search for Agnese continues.
Happy anniversary to us! The Olive Press celebrated its 200th edition with a bumper issue, packed with competitions and exclusives.
Made a hash of it
News of a massive hash haul thrown overboard during a storm and washing up in Cadiz went viral on social media. Now 70 people are facing jail time for scooping the drugs out of the sea and causing marijuana mayhem.
As a sinister paedophile sect led to the arrests of three Granada priests and a religious teacher, the Olive Press went underground in the Catholic church to ask whether its days of influence are numbered.
And to finish the year, the Olive Press sloped off to the Sierra Nevada for a White Christmas.
As 2015 gets underway, we pause to reflect on some of the country’s most iconic figures who are no longer with us – gone but not forgotten.
Just 11 days into 2014, the country was mourning the death of one of its most famous adopted sons. Writer, art historian and gastronome with a passionate enthusiasm for the Spanish way of life, Michael Jacobs died from cancer at 60.
Paco de Lucia
The tragic death of world-renowned flamenco guitarist Paco de Lucia shocked the country in February. The celebrated musician died at the age of 66 after a heart attack, while playing with his children on a beach in Mexico.
In March the country mourned the passing of Adolfo Suarez, former Prime Minister of Spain who steered the country back to democracy after Franco’s dictatorship. The respected statesman died aged 81, after a decade battling with Alzheimer’s disease.
In August, the Olive Press suffered the pain of loss close to home, when popular Axarquia distributor Tom Stewart died of a heart attack at the age of 62. Born in Scotland, Tom lived the last 12 years of his life in Coin.
Duchess of Alba
Spain lost one of its most adored and avant garde public figures in November. Renowned for being the world’s most titled woman, the 18th Duchess of Alba – known as Cayetana de Alba – died at the age of 88. A wealthy and eccentric aristocrat, the Duchess will be remembered as a darling of the gossip magazines.