Three may have been dead for days

Bodies in Spanish villa discovered by landlord worried about rental payments

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 two Irish women and one British man from the same family whose bodies were found in a villa in Mijas, southern Spain, may have died days before they were discovered, according to sources close to the investigation.

The bodies of Philip Wood (56), his wife Sheila (54) and daughter Sophie (28) were found on Wednesday by the owner of the villa they had been renting in the town in Andalusia. The family had been living in Spain for over a decade and had rented the home in the Torrenueva housing estate in Mijas for seven years, but had run into financial difficulties, according to reports. Their landlord had been trying to contact Mr and Mrs Wood because he was concerned about rental payments.

He entered the premises and found Mr Wood’s body on a sofa, before informing the civil guard, who arrived and discovered the two women’s bodies lying under blankets. All three seemed to have died from gunshot wounds. Investigators believe they may have died days before being discovered. “Right now we’re not looking for any more suspects in this case,” a civil guard spokesman told The Irish Times, reinforcing the authorities’ theory that it was a murder-suicide.

Local newspaper Diario Sur reported that there were no signs that anyone had forced their way into the home, which is heavily secured, and that some neighbours said they had heard what sounded like gunfire in the area on Sunday night – three days before the bodies were found.

Autopsies were due to be carried out yesterday. A spokesman said the Department of Foreign Affairs was liaising with Spanish authorities and was in contact with the family of the deceased in Ireland, including Ms Wood’s sister in Dublin. The British authorities had made contact with members of Mr Wood’s family by yesterday evening.

The Wood’s residence sits on the hillside just outside Mijas, a town of 70,000 inhabitants 30km from Málaga. The quiet atmosphere and whitewashed walls are typical of Andalusia’s traditional towns and have helped make it popular with holidaymakers and ex-pats alike. But despite the town’s reputation as a quiet resort, this is not the first violent incident it has seen in recent years.

Shot dead
In 2010, a 26-year-old British man wanted by police in the UK in connection with an attempted murder was shot dead in a bar in the town in a suspected contract killing.

In January of this year, one of Italy’s most-wanted Mafia members, Vittorio Maglione, was arrested as he left a restaurant in Mijas.