File photograph of the city’s La Malagueta beach. / ÑITO SALAS

Woman withdraws Malaga beach gang rape accusation after friend releases WhatsApp messages to police

Three young Moroccans were arrested following the alleged incident on 10 May, and two were still being held in prison while the case was investigated

JUAN CANO / ÁLVARO FRÍAS

A woman who alleged she had been sexually assaulted on a Malaga beach has withdrawn her gang rape allegation, which led to the arrest of three young Moroccans following the incident in early May.

The Guatemalan woman was called to testify by the court on Tuesday, 31 May, in the presence of the lawyers representing the three investigated men.

At the outset, the alleged victim said that she did not remember anything of what had happened. Then the judge then ordered several WhatsApp messages, that she exchanged with a friend, to be played to the courtroom that, in the end, led to a real turnaround in the case.

In the messages sent after the alleged attack, the woman acknowledged "clearly and emphatically", in the words of the magistrate, that she had not been sexually assaulted. In the messages, she also said that she made the complaint to obtain legal residence in Spain and access financial aid.

After playing the messages, the judge asked the young woman again if she still wanted to continue with the case against the three young men that were arrested on the beach. She answered that did not wish to, and chose to withdraw the allegation.

Messages sent to male friend

The WhatsApps that were released to the court had been sent to a young man, a friend of the complainant, who contacted the Local Police to say he had the messages and his actions were praised by the authorities.

The court provisionally released the two men being investigated who were still being held in prison after the incident on 10 May when two witnesses called the National Police to warn that a woman could be the victim of a sexual assault on Malaga city’s La Malagueta beach.

When officers arrived, they found one of those detained on top of the intoxicated victim, while the other two were sitting on the sand "apparently waiting their turn”. In fact, one of them had his pants down.

The strength of witness statements, together with the scene that the police found, were sufficient for the duty judge to send two of the three arrested people - friends aged 30 and 31 - to prison provisionally while the case was investigated. The third person arrested, aged 19, had been released while his connection with the others was looked into.

Sources close to the case indicate that it is most likely that it will be officially closed in the coming days.