Rare life sentence asked for in Irish fatal shooting case in Mijas

Gary Hutch's body at the scene in September 2015.
Gary Hutch's body at the scene in September 2015. / SUR
  • The controversial sentence has only been sought by prosecutors in a few previous cases and is the stiffest available penalty under Spanish law

Public prosecutors in the forthcoming trial of a man accused of a horrific fatal shooting on Mijas Costa allegedly linked to drugs are calling for a judge to hand out the harshest sentence available under Spanish law because of the severity of the crime.

The prosecution will ask for a revisable permanent life sentence, a relatively new sentence which means the accused, if found guilty in the jury trial in Malaga, will be jailed until death. A judge will only able to carry out restricted periodic reviews. This is the first time in Malaga province that the sentence, which was only brought into law in March 2015, has been called for.

The case in question refers to the death from point-blank gunshot wounds of Irish national Gary Hutch on Mijas Costa in September 2015.

Hutch was attacked and chased by an armed man through the Ángel de Miraflores development on Mijas Costa before the assailant caught and killed him, escaping in a waiting BMW X-3. Up to fifteen shots were fired. The stolen car was later found and the attacker had tried to burn it.

Police intelligence led to the arrest of another Irish national resident on the Costa del Sol, identified as James Q. Investigators say that the shooting was down to rivalry between criminal gangs linked to drugs and operating internationally that has led to several other deaths.

Prosecutors say that James Q was working for one of the gangs and had a luxury lifestyle in Spain that was not in keeping with his declared earnings.

The permanent life sentence is meant to be used in especially horrific crimes, for example child murder or organised crime assassinations. Opposition MPs are currently calling for it to be revoked and so far it has only be asked for some four times in Spain, for example against a man that killed his daughters with a chainsaw, a Brazilian man who killed his relatives and a man who brutally raped and killed a woman in a Seville park.