Crime & Justice

Spanish murder suspect admits killing but says he was ‘hostage’

(update: recasts with suspect’s remarks)

Koh Phangan, Thailand, Aug 6 (EFE).- A Spanish man who has admitted killing and dismembering a Colombian plastic surgeon in Thailand confirmed to Efe on Sunday that he is guilty of murder but that he was forced to commit the crime because he was being held “hostage”.

Daniel Sancho Bronchano, 29, the son of well-known Spanish actors Rodolfo Sancho and Silvia Bronchalo and grandson of Sancho Gracia, was placed under arrest on Saturday after police said he had confessed to murdering Edwin Arrieta Arteaga, 44, out of “jealousy” and fear the surgeon was “cheating” on him.

But in remarks to Efe on Sunday in front of his Thai public defenders and several officers at Koh Pangan police station where he is being held, Sancho said Arrieta was holding him “hostage.”

“It was a glass cage, but it was a cage. He made me destroy my relationship with my girlfriend, he made me do things I would never have done,” Sancho said.

Although he has been in custody since Friday and pleaded guilty to Arrieta’s murder and dismemberment on Saturday, he has not yet been formally charged.

Asked if he felt forced by police to plead guilty, he said, “I didn’t feel comfortable, but I wasn’t forced.”

“I felt I had no other choice either. They took DNA tests and that’s it. That’s it,” he added.

The suspect, who will be taken to court on Monday on the neighboring island of Koh Samui, denied that having had a romantic relationship with Arrieta, whom he accused of being obsessed with him and threatening him.

“He was obsessed with me. He tricked me, he made me believe that he wanted to do business with me, to put money into the company I am a partner in. He wanted us to do things together, to go to Mexico, Chile, Colombia, to open a restaurant. But it was all a lie. The only thing he wanted was me, for me to be his boyfriend,” he said.

Sancho, who arrived in Thailand on July 30 and on Koh Phangan on Aug. 1, said that Arrieta had decided to join his trip.

“Every time I tried to get away from him, he would threaten me,” he added.

The suspect insisted during the conversation with Efe that Thai authorities were treating him well, and that “no one has hit me or hurt me.”

Thai officers on Sunday took Sancho to different parts of the island for a reconstruction of the crime, including the beach where the young man was allegedly seen with Arrieta shortly before his disappearance.

Sancho reported Arrieta’s disappearance to police on Thursday.

A garbage collector discovered a pelvis and human intestines hidden in a fertilizer bag dumped at a landfill on Thursday, which prompted the police to begin investigating a possible murder.

More human remains were found during another search of the same landfill on Friday, including a bag containing two parts of lower limbs, along with a T-shirt and shorts, according to local media.

Following those discoveries, the police on Friday began questioning the Spaniard as a suspect, after also noticing cuts and scratches on his body when he first reported the disappearance to police.

Police told Efe that Sancho was caught on security cameras buying knives, a saw and garbage bags earlier in the week, and that they had searched his accommodation on the island, which is known for its all-night full moon parties.

Images from security cameras on the island collected by local media show the two on a motorcycle on August 2. EFE

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