A former Mexican policeman and his associate have been sentenced to 80 years in prison for kidnapping and killing the niece of the Spanish football federation’s longest-serving president.
The defendants were sentenced at a court in the Mexican capital Mexico City on 24th November.
Maria Villar, the niece of former Royal Spanish Football Federation (RFEF) president Angel Maria Villa, 70, was kidnapped while getting in a taxi in the capital city’s business district of Santa Fe on 13th September 2016.
The Spanish woman had moved to Mexico with her husband Cristiano do Vale several years before after they fell in love with the country and decided to stay.
According to local reports, the family paid a ransom of MXN 65,000 (GBP 2,429) after proof of life was given, but communication with the abductors broke down shortly after.
Maria was later found dead in the city of Santiago Tianguistenco in the state of Mexico on 15th September.
The kidnapping reportedly required a lot of planning as the suspects used a specially-adapted taxi which allowed them to take out a backseat to move the victim into the boot.
Police announced that they arrested a former federal policeman, identified as Estanon Najera, on 8th November for masterminding and taking part in the victim’s kidnapping and murder.
Previously, the authorities arrested Oscar Saul Roldan Rodriguez for his involvement in the crime, and he was placed in preventative prison on 3rd October.
Maria’s widow Cristiano do Vale was the only family member able to attend the trial as her other relatives in Spain were unable to travel to Mexico due to COVID-19 restrictions.
According to Spanish newspaper El Mundo, the husband said he is happy with the sentence, and that the verdict shows the country’s legal system works. (https://bit.ly/33g8A5n)
Angel Maria headed RFEF between 1988 and 2017 making him the Spanish football association’s longest-serving president.
He was also the acting president of UEFA between 2015 and 2016 and was senior vice president of FIFA from March to July 2017.