THE man who allegedly stabbed a German expat to death in one of the most high profile murders in the Balearic Islands will go to trial next week.
Rafael Pantoja, 45, who is accused of brutally murdering his ex-partner Sacramento Roca, 36, will the be the first to face trial with a jury during Spain’s state of alarm.
The 2018 killing had rocked the Balearic community and led to widespread protests on the streets against gender violence due to the extreme brutality suffered by Roca.
The German national had been working in a well known furniture shop on Calle Aragon in Palma de Mallorca when she was reportedly ambushed by Pantoja.
According to the prosecutor’s brief, on the afternoon of November 16, Pantoja paid a visit to the store and attempted to start a conversation while Roca was working.
As she was busy serving clients and could not pay attention to him, Pantoja allegedly grabbed her by the neck to prevent her from moving, stabbing Roca seven times.
Roca had no chance of defending herself and was killed instantly, with the autopsy confirming that the knife had pierced her lungs and heart.
After committing the crime, Pantoja fled on foot, however several witnesses, including a security guard, chased the suspect and held him down until the Policia Nacional arrived.
An investigation into the murder revealed that Pantoja, a self-professed bodybuilder who worked as a security guard, had repeatedly harassed Roca after she ended their relationship.
Four days before the murder, the victim had filed a complaint with the police stating that her ex-partner had punctured all four wheels of her car and sent threatening messages.
These officers failed to activate the protocol to protect victims of gender violence, which later led to their termination from the police force.
Following the killing, the director of the Balearic Institute for Women, Rosa Cursach, proclaimed that the murder was ‘a terrorist attack on the community.’
Thousands of people also descended to the capital to pay their respects for Roca where they called for an end to violence against women.
Prosecutors say that holding a jury trial in the middle of the coronavirus pandemic had posed a series of difficulties to ensure that social distancing was respected, but that they were now ‘one step closer to justice.’
It comes after the number of gender violence convictions in Spain reached a record high in 2019.
According to the Observatory Against Domestic and Gender Violence of the Judiciary (CGPJ), seven out of 10 gender violence cases resulted in a sentence in favour of the victim, a 3% jump from 2017.
When looking at the number of victims by region per 10,000 inhabitants, the Balearic Islands led the rankings, with 109.5 victims.
Moreover, the number of domestic abuse calls increased by a staggering 18% during the COVID-19 lockdown compared to the same period last year.
Fearing a spike in abuse, the government made shelters available for victims with Mallorca implementing a ‘mascarilla-19‘ campaign, the keyword to use at pharmacies to alert clerks to activate the protection protocol against gender violence.