15 November 2005 | Tony King sentenced to 36 years in prison

Tony Alexander King during his trial in November 2005.
Tony Alexander King during his trial in November 2005. / J. D. / EFE
  • The British national was found guilty of murdering 17-year-old Sonia Carabantes during the Coín feria in August 2003

On 15 November 2005, British national Tony Alexander King was sentenced to 36 years in prison for what judges described as the "savage, cruel and inhumane" murder of 17-year-old Sonia Carabantes during Coín's annual feria in August 2003. He was also ordered to pay 300,000 euros in damages to the teenager's parents.

The court heard about a premeditated attack in which Sonia was unable to defend herself. According to the sentence, King lay in wait for Sonia near her home at around 5am. As she approached she said goodbye to the friends who had accompanied her to the fair and King then jumped out from his hiding place behind a tree and grabbed her with the intention of "touching her lasciviously". He repeatedly struck her face, head and body until she was only half-conscious, before putting her in the boot of his car.

He drove more than 17 kilometres to a lonely spot called Cerro Gordo, in the municipality of Monda. There he put the teenager on the back seat of the car, where he undressed her, touched her and beat her, causing numerous internal and external injuries. These produced "a huge amount of suffering" and could have killed her, said the sentence, delivered in November 2015.

King then tied her T-shirt round her neck and strangled her. He later moved Sonia's body to a piece of flat ground nearby, where he hid it among the rocks and partially covered it.

He drove away, throwing the T-shirt and Sonia's trousers out of the car and dumping the rest of her clothes in a rubbish bin.

This sentence was not King's last. On 11 May 2006 he was given a further 19 years in jail for the murder of Rocío Wanninkhof in 1999, and was handed seven years that same year for the attempted rape of a woman in Benalmádena in 2001.

It was the Carabantes investigation that revealed that her attacker's DNA matched samples taken from the scene of the Wanninkhof murder.

This news prompted King's exwife to report her suspicions that he was involved in both crimes to the authorities. The arrest of the Briton, who was by then living with a new partner in Alhaurín el Grande, led to the release and pardon of Dolores Vázquez, who had spent 17 months in jail, wrongly convicted of the murder of Rocío.