Irene Quirante / Juan Cano
Friday, 13 October 2023, 10:59
Tributes have poured in for Paqui, the 52-year-old woman who was apparently shot dead in Benalmádena by her husband in a domestic violence incident on Tuesday 10 October.
The mother-of-three is being remembered as someone brimming with joy and who went out of her way for her family. The Granada-born woman worked as a cleaner at the Sunset Beach Club hotel in Torrequebrada in Benalmádena and on Tuesday returned to work after a break like any other day. She joked with her colleagues and worked diligently to leave the rooms on the 14th floor of the popular hotel spotless.
Her work shift ended at 4pm that afternoon, but just an hour later, police officers found Paqui's body and her husband's - both with shotgun wounds - lying lifeless in their family home.
Investigators believe the husband, 63, may have died by taking his own life after shooting his wife, according to sources. The couple had three children together, aged 21, 20 and 17. According to SUR, neighbours raised the alarm about 5pm after hearing several gunshots. Just a few moments later, the couple's youngest son arrived at the house and, horrified by the scene, called for help.
Several National Police units and two ambulances rushed to the house after receiving a call from the dental clinic next-door that multiple gun shots had been fired. When medics arrived, nothing could be done for the couple. According to sources, the woman was lying on the sofa in the living room with several gunshot wounds. Her husband was in another room, with a weapon at his side, and a gunshot wound to his chest.
Spain's Ministry of Equality on Wednesday 11 October confirmed that Paqui is the fourth victim of a domestic violence incident in Malaga this year. According to sources, her husband, Francisco, had been suffering from depression. Paqui had once told her friends and colleagues at the hotel about it, but had recently suggested to them that he was starting to feel better.
The man, who worked at a driving school, had been on sick leave for some months. Apparently, he was a hunting enthusiast, which would explain why he was in possession of weapons - National Police officers seized three of them at the house.
Neither the neighbours nor the woman's colleagues suspected she could be a victim of domestic violence as she had not previously suggested there was anything wrong. "He wasn't well; and we don't know if, because of his illness, that's why he did it," they said. Her work colleagues also recalled how excited Paqui was just a few weeks ago as the family had found a new flat and were planning to move into it soon.
"Always in our hearts"
The news of Paqui's death shocked staff at the holiday resort where she had been working for at least ten years. Many of her close colleagues who found out the tragic news on Wednesday morning were given the day off to grieve. At midday the workers gathered outside the hotel to pay tribute to the memory of Paqui, a person who, they said, they will remember by her smile, good humour and professionalism. "Forever in our hearts," they wrote on posters as they held a minute's silence for her.
Benalmádena town hall also held a minute's silence on Wednesday and declared it as a day of official mourning. Mayor Juan Antonio Lara said he had been in contact with one of Paqui's sons and offered the family whatever support they needed, including psychological assistance. "I have been talking to one of them and they are going through a very hard time, you have to put yourself in their shoes, especially when they have also told us that their parents had always got on well," he said. "Benalmádena is in mourning today and from the local government we will continue to do everything we can to fight for mental health and against gender violence," he added.
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