José Arcadio DN, alias El Melillero, when he made an appearance before the court in Fuengirola after his arrest. / SALVADOR SALAS

Judge adds a new charge in the case of El Melillero and others under investigation for the acid attack in Cártama

Six people are under investigation in connection with the attack on two young women who both suffered serious burns after being sprayed with acid while sitting in their car in January 2021

JUAN CANO / ÁLVARO FRÍAS Malaga

Gender violence is generally carried out by an individual. There may be an accomplice involved or people who remain silent about what has happened, but it is really unusual for a criminal gang to be behind it.

Nevertheless, that has been the conclusion reached by the judge investigating the acid attack on two young women, Sandra and Cristina, in January 2021, and the court summoned the six people suspected of being involved, to inform them that they are also being investigated for membership of a criminal organisation.

They include José Arcadio D. N., Sandra’s ex-partner, nicknamed El Melillero, who is alleged to have planned and carried out the attack, and five other men who are suspected of having collaborated in the different phases of it. Four are being held in different prisons, so they appeared before the judge this week by video-link. The other two were there in person. Most exercised their right to keep silent, and those who did testify did not shed any new light on the investigation.

José Arcadio D. N. insisted that there is no connection with any criminal gangs, and that he had had nothing to do with the attack.

The main investigation centres around El Melillero, who the victims claim was at the scene of the crime and perpetrated the attack; although someone known to him, nicknamed Poti, has confessed to throwing the liquid but said he did not know it was acid and that he had been put under pressure and intimidated by José Arcadio.

El Melillero’s ex-girlfriend, who suffered burns to 50 per cent of her body, told the judge a year ago that he wanted to “destroy her physically” so nobody else would look at her and that he wanted her to die, suffering. Sandra and her friend Cristina both accused him of being behind the attack and both said they saw him laugh.

At the time, José Arcadio D. N. told the judge he had not been present and had not driven the VW Golf from which the acid was thrown. He said Poti had done it but that it was easy for the authorities to try to blame him because “society had already decided he was guilty”.

Meanwhile, the courts in Fuengirola are also investigating another case involving the alleged accomplices of El Melillero during the three days he was on the run from the authorities, because they are believed to be part of a drug trafficking group. In fact, when the acid attack took place, the Guardia Civil were already investigating them with regard to a drug offence.