Murder-suicide suspect under ‘financial pressure’

Costa del Sol town in shock after death of two Irish women and British man

Philip Wood (56), his wife Sheila (54) and daughter Sophie (28) who were found dead inside a house in Mijas, Spain, earlier this week. Photograph: Solarpix

Philip Wood (56), his wife Sheila (54) and daughter Sophie (28) who were found dead inside a house in Mijas, Spain, earlier this week. Photograph: Solarpix


The town of Mijas on the Costa del Sol was still coming to terms yesterday with news of the tragic deaths of three members of its expat community in an apparent murder-suicide.

The villa in the Villanueva housing complex where British national Philip Wood (56) and his Irish wife Sheila (54) and daughter Sophie (28) were found dead on Wednesday remained cordoned off by police.

Initial results from the postmortems confirmed that the three all died from gunshot wounds, news agency Europa Press reported yesterday. However, the full results could take several more days.

The Guardia Civil, which is in charge of the case, believes Mr Wood shot his wife and daughter and then turned the gun on himself. A note apologising for what he had done was reportedly left behind on the premise.

Investigators believe the three may have died several days before the bodies were discovered on Wednesday by the landlord of the villa, who had become concerned about late rental payments. Mr Wood was found on a sofa, while the two women were found on beds lying under blankets.

Under pressure
Pressures that the Wood family were under and which may have led to the tragedy have started to come to light.

When the family moved into the Torrenueva area seven years ago from nearby Miraflores, they were comfortably off due to a substantial redundancy package Mr Wood had received from a bank for which he had worked.

But friends of the family say Mr Wood, who had worked as a financial consultant specialising in Spanish tax, had been short of work for the past year or so. The family continued to rent the villa, which has a swimming pool and view of the Mediterranean, but Mr Wood sold his BMW and Mini Cooper.

As the financial pressure mounted, Ms Wood was increasingly housebound by a medical condition. Friends say that she had battled cancer in the past. Their daughter, who had a severe disability from birth, also required constant care.

‘Isolating experience’
In an interview on an English-language radio station last year, Ms Wood described caring for a child with a disability in a foreign country as “a very isolating experience”.

It seems that Mr Wood took on more and more of the responsibility of looking after both his daughter and his wife. “[Mr Wood] never once complained about anything,” said Craig Beck, a friend of the family and owner of a nearby bar. “He was always running around after his wife, getting takeaways for her and so on and doing the same for his daughter.”

Although the Woods were, by all accounts, keen on their privacy, the expat community in Mijas has been shaken by the deaths. “It’s a shock to everybody, especially as it’s such a small community,” said Jean Quick, who runs a nearby cafe .