SPANISH police are investigating a possible string of expat murders by a couple who, allegedly, took lonely foreign pensioners under their wing, including two with Tenerife links, and tricked them into handing over their properties and savings.

Guardia Civil officers arrested a German man and his

Cuban-German wife, and freed two elderly people, believed to have been held captive in the couple’s home in Chiclana de la Frontera, Andalucia, rapidly renamed the “House of Horrors”.

A German man called Silvestre and a disabled Dutch woman, in her seventies and identified as Elisabeth, were found immobile on beds inside small rooms, showing signs of being drugged with tranquilisers, as well as and suffering from malnutrition.

Their supposed carers, identified by the Guardia Civil only as Markus and Estrella, had been feeding them a meagre diet of sandwiches. The victims were attached to nasogastric tubes, keeping them barely alive in what investigators labelled the “House of Horrors”.

Spanish investigators raided the property as part of a probe into the disappearance of a wealthy German woman called Maria Babes, who signed over her Tenerife property to the couple before her death.

An Italian man also died recently while under the couple’s care, and investigators suspect there were at least five potential cases of suspicious deaths involving pensioners, including a possible British victim.

A police statement said that rogatory commissions (formal requests from courts), had been sent to Britain, Italy, Germany and Cuba, to follow up on suspicions that the couple, who amassed a €1.8m fortune, had committed a series of murders.

The investigation started last year when a friend of Ms Babes reported to police that she left her Tenerife home to live in mainland Spain, with a younger couple who had befriended her.

Spanish investigators traced the wealthy 101-year-old to a different nursing home in Chiclana, where she ended up after being admitted to hospital on several occasions while in the care of the Cuban-German couple.

She told police that the couple had kept her locked up. But, in a strange twist, she was persuaded to leave the nursing home and return to the “House of Horrors”, where she died.

“The content of her medical records raised the investigators’ suspicions of possible neglect and abandonment, on the part of her carers. That, added to the old woman’s economic status, set alarm bells ringing,” a source from the investigation told local newspaper Diario de Cádiz.

Ms Babes told Guardia Civil agents that the German-Cuban couple had kept her locked up and handcuffed for several months, adding that she knew nothing about the documents, supposedly signed by her before a notary, granting power of attorney to the couple, and naming them as her heirs. Investigators say that the Dutch woman they rescued was used by the suspects to supplant Ms Babes’ identity.

Her bank account balance, which stood at more than €162,000 last October, had been wiped out by December, and she also received no money from the sale of her Tenerife house.

At Christmas, the police sought arrest warrants for the suspected couple, but, the day before the planned operation, Markus and Estrella removed Ms Babes from the residence. Five hours later, she was dead, despite appearing in apparently good health in a video from that morning, playing the tambourine during a special Christmas breakfast.

A funeral-parlour operator told investigators of the couple’s rush to proceed with her cremation. But he was surprised that they did not wish to take away an urn with ashes, despite claiming to have been very fond of the old woman.

The couple are also believed to have extracted €500,000 and two Tenerife properties from the Italian man, who died in their care.


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Posted by on Mar 15 2019. Filed under Local News, Home Page Featured. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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