Kirsty Maxwell: Five cleared over Benidorm balcony death of West Lothian woman
The five men being probed over the death of Benidorm balcony fall holidaymaker Kirsty Maxwell have been told they are in the clear.
A Spanish judge probing the plunge has ruled there is “no evidence” pointing to their involvement in the 27-year-old Scot’s death and announced she is provisionally shelving her near two-and-a-half-year homicide investigation.
The five Brits - Joseph Graham; Ricky Gammon; Anthony Holehouse; Callum Northridge; and Daniel Bailey - were given the news on Tuesday by their lawyer.
Roberto Sanchez, defence lawyer for all five men, said: “They all know about the judge’s decision and are very happy with it.
“It confirms what they have said from the start.”
Mr Graham and his holiday friends were the last people to see Kirsty alive after she walked into their tenth-floor room at Apartamentos Payma in Benidorm’s Little England area just before 8am on April 29 2017.
She plunged to her death moments later in circumstances her family described as “sinister and suspicious.”
The five men, who are all from the Nottingham area, were placed under formal investigation on suspicion of Kirsty’s homicide, although Mr Graham was the only one of the five Brits who were arrested and they were all allowed to return to the UK after being questioned as part of the long-running court probe.
The dramatic decision to stay the investigation and lift the threat of trial hanging over the five Brits was taken following a long campaign by Kirsty’s family to “get justice” over her death after her grieving husband insisted early on “something dark” had happened in apartment 10E.
Judge Ana Isabel Garcia-Galbis insisted in her ruling: “There is no evidence of the participation of the men investigated in the death of the victim.”
Highlighting the fact tests had shown Kirsty was “seriously affected” by the alcohol she had drunk the night before her death during a hen night out with friends and could have caused her problems including “blurred vision, loss of balance and emotional instability”, she added: “Conclusions different to those of the police at the time about the accidental dynamic of the death have not been able to be reached.”
Kirsty’s parents Brian and Denise Curry and her husband Adam Maxwell are expected to appeal the decision, confirmed in a short one-and-a-half page ruling which left questions unanswered as to exactly why the Scots tourist plunged to her death.
They have been given three days to lodge an appeal with the investigating judge, who is based at Benidorm’s Court of Investigation Number Four, although they are expected to waive that right and try to overturn the ruling at a higher regional court.
There has been no official comment yet from her loved ones or their legal team.
The writing was on the wall for Kirsty’s family after they were hit with a quadruple whammy in the run-up to the second anniversary of her death.
The Spanish judge leading the criminal probe rejected four separate new requests from their Spanish lawyer and hinted an at imminent ruling on the case.
They included attempts by Brian and Denise Currey and Adam Maxwell to get Ana Isabel Garcia-Galbis to help them track down potential witnesses by obtaining the names and contact details of holidaymakers staying on the top floors of the four-star Hotel Presidente opposite the apartment block Kirsty died at.
The family’s Spanish lawyer also made a failed bid to get the judge to allow an architect to analyse the inside of the apartment Kirsty plunged from to complement a study by biomechanics expert Mike Brown who appeared in a BBC documentary in August last year called ‘Killed Abroad.’
Kirsty’s family have been supported by West Lothian MSP Angela Constance, who told PM Boris Johnson in a letter in July: “Much more needs to be done to support the families of loved ones killed abroad.”
Last month an online appeal backed by her loved ones accused the Spanish authorities and police of “flawed investigations” ahead of what would have been her 30th birthday and claimed they had “no empathy for Kirsty’s family.”
All five men probed over the death of Kirsty, thought to have entered their apartment by mistake as she headed to a friend’s room on the same floor, denied any wrongdoing. None were charged with any crime as is normal in Spain where charges are only laid shortly before trial.
Mr Graham told police after his arrest Kirsty was acting as if she was “mad, drunk or drugged” and headed for the bathroom before trying to get through an indoor window and then disappearing from his view as she headed towards the balcony.
The Brit, a £9,000-a-year Amazon worker when he was held, said in a statement shortly after the incident: “I have been advised by my Spanish lawyer that despite me not being charged with any wrongdoing, the investigation into this tragic accident is still ongoing and therefore sub judice.”
“I am unable to say anything at this time other than I am innocent of any wrongdoing.”
The four other men in the apartment with him, speaking after they were summonsed to appear in court in Benidorm in July 2017 after being placed under investigation, said: “This was a tragic accident and we categorically deny any involvement in this unfortunate incident.
Adam Maxwell, who married Kirsty in September 2016, claimed in a newspaper interview after his wife’s death “something dark” had happened in the apartment and vowed: “I won’t rest until I know the truth.”
Kirsty’s dad Brian told a BBC Scotland programme in February: “We’ve got a goal and the goal is to find out some truth and answers.”
“We’ve always been positive that we’re doing the right thing. As long as we are here, we´ll keep pushing on.”
Blood and urine samples after her death showed Kirsty, from Livingston, West Lothian, had taken no drugs but stated her alcohol and blood level at 2.79 gram per litre.
The toxicology report concluded in a final paragraph: “In general, the effects of ingesting alcohol which leads to concentrations in blood of 1.8 to three grams per litre are disorientation, mental confusion, vertigo; an exaggerated emotional state including fear and anger; alteration of sensations and perception of colour, shape, movement and dimensions; reduction of the feeling of pain; alterations in balance , muscular incoordination, walking and speech problems.”
A police report said Mr Graham, who opened the door to Kirsty, had consumed so much cocaine the night of her death he suffered a nosebleed.