AN Irish expat has been forced to live in a hotel after a squatter moved into her home and refused to leave.

Jean O’Donoghue, who has lived in Spain for 17 years, recently returned to Ireland for a couple of months to be with family, following the passing of her husband.

While there, the widower received a ‘shocking’ call from a neighbour informing her that a local man had moved into her home in Arcos de la Frontera.

He had also removed her belongings and changed the locks.

Squatter occupies flat on Spain's Costa Blanca and gets surprise visit from dead owner
The Spaniard squatter changed the locks and asked O’Donoghue to pay him €3000

On her return, the squatter said he’d been told by her husband to ‘be on guard’ and that he’d only leave if she paid him €3000.

With Spanish law stating that anyone who moves into a vacant property and stays for 48 hours can claim possession, even if the owner is only away for a short time, O’Donoghue was forced to move into a hotel.

Local police were unable to offer much help, so she made a civil complaint before the local court as she racked up a huge hotel bill paying €100 a night.

A month later, after multiple pleas for help and stories in the national media, it’s understood the squatter has now left. 

There is still speculation around whether O’Donoghue can take her case further but ‘burglary’ and ‘damage to property’ are all chargeable crimes, which are currently being reviewed. 

When the Olive Press spoke to O’Donoghue she confirmed the horror story and said, “I have nothing more to add. It’s been awful.”

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