A man who chopped off his childhood friend’s head and paraded it through an Andalucian city, showing it to passers-by, has been given more than 21 years behind bars.
Huelva Provincial Court handed Manuel Jesus Navarro 21 years in prison for murdering his childhood friend – named as Candido Rovero – as well as five months for desecrating his corpse.
The chilling crime took place at the victim’s home in Huelva, southern Spain, on the night of 29th October 2020.
According to the investigation, Navarro smashed his friend’s head with a 1.1-kilogramme (2.4-lb) metal object, killing him on the spot.
He then rolled his body up in a curtain, took it to the back room, and “completely severed his head using a knife with a 20-centimetre-long blade”, the court was told.
During the trial, Navarro revealed: “I picked up the head, took it to the bathroom, and shampooed it.”
The gruesome killing earned Navarro the grim nickname the ‘Halloween Beheader’ in Spanish media.
He left the body for the night but returned the next morning where the court heard he downed beer and drugs as he tried to clear the home of any evidence of the murder.
Then, he put his victim’s head “in a plastic bag” and took it to a square in Huelva, where he left it among the branches of a tree before heading home.
The next morning, he returned to the square to walk his dogs and found the head was still up the tree.
He went back home, where he consumed more drugs and alcohol, and went back to the square in the afternoon.
He then collected the head and took it to some waste bins, where he left it on the ground as he tried to burn some clothes and objects used in the crime.
But a woman spotted what he was doing and asked him what he had in the bag, to which he is said to have replied: “Come and see it yourself.”
He reportedly remained stone-faced as he showed her the head, but as it was Halloween, the woman assumed it was a prop.
He then continued to show the head to other passers-by until word spread and locals started chasing him.
He fled through Huelva and tossed the head next to a bin before taking cover in his home.
A short while later, he was arrested by police.
The court ruled that Navarro was fully aware of his actions and was not out of mind or affected by toxic substances at the time of the crime.
The court said: “There is not the slightest hint of doubt or uncertainty that his intention was to end his life.”
It ruled he must also pay EUR 205,000 in compensation to the victim’s relatives.
It acquitted him of crimes against physical and moral integrity and robbery.
Lawyers for the victim’s family had requested 25 years for murder, five for desecration of a corpse, another five for robbery, and two for crimes against physical and moral integrity.
The public prosecutor had requested 24 years and five months.