José Enrique Abuín Gey, 43, appeared in court this week for the first time since he was remanded in custody after the discovery of Diana’s body eight metres down a well in a disused warehouse in Rianxo (A Coruña province) on New Year’s Eve.
The accused, who is known by his nickname of El Chicle, or ‘chewing gum’, due to a speech impediment as a child, reportedly kidnapped Diana, 18, in the early hours of August 22, 2016 when she was walking back from the town fiestas to her family holiday home in A Pobra do Caramiñal, about 15 kilometres from where her body was found.
Forensics were unable to tell from DNA evidence whether she had been raped, due to the length of time she had been in water – over 16 months – but it is thought this was El Chicle’s intention.
He was caught after attempting a near-identical kidnap on Christmas Day in the Rianxo area, but bystanders rescued the woman when she was already halfway into the boot of Abuín Gey’s car.
Except for his initial statement to the Guardia Civil, Abuín Gey has always refused to comment when questioned.
His initial version was that he accidentally ran Diana over as he did not see her in the dark, but he now says he strangled her without meaning to.
El Chicle has also insisted his wife Rosario, 30, was not present at the time and that he was the only person involved in Diana’s death.
Solicitor for the private prosecution, Ricardo Pérez Lama, working for Diana’s parents Juan Carlos Quer and Diana Cristina López-Pinel, says El Chicle’s second statement was ‘completely contradictory’ and that he had ‘gone from one lie to another’.
Pérez Lama has called for a full reconstruction of Diana’s last movements and a ‘virtual recreation’.
The public prosecution supports this request, although whether it comes to fruition will depend upon Abuín Gey’s defence.
Juan Carlos Quer says a reconstruction is ‘very important’ to the private prosecution in order to build up evidence.
“It’s our right. The accused has his rights, but we also have ours,” Sr Quer said.
Diana’s family and their solicitor say there can be ‘no doubt’ that the accused was guilty of murder, rather than the lesser offence of manslaughter, and that he should also be charged with false imprisonment and with sexual assault, as the crime of rape is now officially known.
Juan Carlos Quer said his one personal wish for the hearing was to force his daughter’s killer to look him in the eye, but despite all efforts on his part, El Chicle persistently avoided visual contact.