TWO teenagers are facing combined sentences of 13 years after starting a fire which killed two 12-year-old girls and a 21-year-old man.
The prosecutor’s office is seeking eight years in a young offenders’ institute and five years probation for the main defendant, aged 16.
He set fire to sofa in a cave in La Molineta de Almeria in April of this year, which soon spread and claimed three lives.
His codefendant, 17, is facing five years in an institute and five years probation.
Three other minors who were present but did not have direct involvement in starting the blaze will also be tried in the case for allowing the crime to take place – they are facing 24 months behind bars.
The lawyers of the accused held a meeting with the judge today in a bid to reduce the terms being seeked by the prosecutor’s office, which was flatly refused.
The main defendant is accused of having caused the blaze by setting fire to a sofa ‘knowing full well the risk of others inside the cave.’
It was reportedly supposed to ‘be a prank’ that got way out of hand, but witnesses believe the twisted teen was seeking revenge on the 21-year-old victim.
Just moments before the fire, they had a heated argument, with the 16-year-old demanding €4 back that he had lent the man.
Moments later, after the 21-year-old entered the cave, the 16-year-old set fire to an abandoned sofa.
According to the prosecutor, his 17-year-old friend then blocked the exit with an old door and sealed it with adhesive tape, not knowing two young girls, both aged 12, were also inside.
The 17-year-old is said to have immediately tried to take the door off once he realised how strong the fire inside was, but the 16-year-old threw stones at him and tried to prevent the rescue effort.
The 16-year-old is said to have been ‘calm and quiet’ while the victims screamed inside the cave.
Lawyers for the defendants say it was a joke that ‘got out of hand’ and that there were no ill intentions.
They added that the boys were ‘not the monsters’ they were being painted to be by the prosectuor’s office.
The trial continues.