AN admirer of Franco who plotted to kill Spain’s Prime Minister over plans to exhume the fascist dictator, is facing 18 years in jail if found guilty in a trial that started this week.

Manuel Morillo, 66, from Tarrasa outside Barcelona, belonged to a group of far-right extremists and was arrested in 2018 after police uncovered a plot to assassinate the Socialist Prime Minister, Pedro Sanchez.

The fitness fanatic who worked as a security guard and went shooting in his spare time plotted to kill Sanchez after he ordered the exhumation of General Franco from his tomb in the Valley of the Fallen.

“We can’t allow them to humiliate the generalisimo like this… they just want revenge for having lost the war,” Morillo, whose father was the last mayor of Rubi during the Franco era, wrote in a WhatApp group to fellow fascists.

He said he would go and sit on the tomb armed with a gun to defend it and shoot anyone who went near. He asked for help to carry out his plan.

He wrote “ This is a plan to finish with the current government, I need help from Nationalists.”

When someone in the group reported his plot to police, a team moved in and discovered an arsenal of weapons including a pistol, several revolvers, an assault rifle, a carbine and a homemade crossbow.

The trial begins this week and prosecutors are asking for 18 years and six months for conspiracy to murder and stockpiling weapons.

Franco's Mausoleum In The Valley Of The Fallen
A concrete cross stands on the mountain above the Valle de los Caídos (Valley of the Fallen) Photo: Dirk Steinmetz/dpa/Cordon Press

In October 2019, Franco’s remains were finally moved from the vast mausoleum outside Madrid that was built by prisoners during his fascist regime.

His body now lies in the Mingorrubio Cemetery beside his wife Carmen in the town of El Pardo, just outside Madrid.

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