Second Briton freed in Spanish murders inquiry

 

A Spanish judge has ordered the release of a second Briton held over the murder of a teenage girl on the Costa del Sol.

Robert Graham, 39, originally from Manchester, was suspected of having covered up for another Briton, Tony King, in the murder of the teenager in 1999.

But Graham was allowed to leave the jail in Alhaurin de la Torre after it was found that the three year statute of limitations for his suspected offence had run out, Spanish National Radio said.

Graham was arrested on Saturday and jailed yesterday by a judge investigating the murder of a 19-year-old girl Rocio Wanninkhof.

King was jailed on Sunday after reportedly confessing to killing Wanninkhof in 1999 and 17-year-old Sonia Carabantes last month. Graham has not been linked to the Carabantes case.

Graham worked for a time share company in the coastal town of Nerja.

King, a barman in nearby Alhaurin el Grande, has also admitted to at least three other sex crimes in southern Spain in recent years. He has been placed in an isolation cell to protect him from other inmates, police said.

Britain has confirmed that King's real name is Tony Bromwich, known as the Holloway Strangler, who served five years of a 10-year sentence for a string of sex attacks in London in the mid-1980s.

Spanish Interior Minister Angel Acebes said today that British police had informed their Spanish counterparts in 1998 of King's sex offence record.

King admitted to the two murders in Spain after DNA samples taken from his home matched DNA recovered in the two cases. He was detained after his girlfriend informed police that he had returned home on the morning of Carabantes' disappearance with blood on his clothes and scratches on his face.

King has lived in Spain for the past six years.

The body of Carabantes, who disappeared from her home town of Coin on the morning of August 14, was found five days later naked and partially buried under rocks in an abandoned lot close to Coin.

Wanninkhof went missing in the nearby town of Mijas in October 1999 and her body was found some three weeks later.

Hundreds of locals had helped in the search for the teens.

A former close friend of the Wanninkhof family, Dolores Vazquez, was tried and found guilty of Rocio's murder in September 2001 but was released after a higher court ordered a retrial.