Convicted killer guilty of murdering teacher in case that prompted wave of protests across Spain
A convicted killer was found guilty on Friday of torturing, raping and murdering a young teacher in a case that prompted a wave of protests across Spain.
Bernardo Montoya, 53, was accused of killing Laura Luelmo, 26, by striking her across the head with a rock after he had put her through a terrifying ordeal.
He had been released from prison for the murder of another woman two months before the killing.
After a four-day trial in Huelva, southern Spain, Montoya was found guilty in a unanimous verdict by a jury of murder, rape and kidnap. He denied any wrongdoing.
Ms Luelmo moved to El Campillo, a small mining village north of Seville, to work as an art teacher but within a week of arriving she was dead.
Montoya became the police’s prime suspect because he moved into a house next to Luelmo after serving time in prison for killing a woman in her eighties whose house he had burgled.
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He initially confessed to Ms Luelmo’s murder but changed his testimony four times, at one point trying to pin the crime on his ex-girlfriend, while he was in jail.
Ms Luelmo, who was from Zamora in northern Spain, had complained to her boyfriend that she felt uncomfortable because her neighbour stared at her.
According to the prosecution, Montoya attacked Ms Luelmo and forced her into his house where he hit her 40 times with a stick or metal bar.
He tied her up and forced her into the bedroom where he raped her, the court heard.
He then drove her to a remote beauty spot where he dumped her, thinking she was dead.
But he initially told police that when he returned to the spot to collect a blanket, he found she was still breathing. He said he gave her a final blow with a rock, the court heard.
When her body was discovered five days later, it prompted protest marches across Spain and a campaign under the slogan #WeAreAllLaura.
The police investigation was slowed down because Montoya’s identical twin brother, Luciano, arrived on the day Ms Luelmo’s body was found.
Luciano Montoya is also a convicted killer who served 18 years in prison for murdering a woman.
Bernardo Montoya, 53, was accused of killing Laura Luelmo, 26, by striking her across the head with a rock