Juan Carlos AlfaroHEAD

Schoolgirl’s shooting puts Rajoy under new pressure to raise age of consent

PRESSURE is mounting for Spain to raise its age of sexual consent after a 13-year-old girl was shot dead in the street by a 39-year-old man she’d been having a relationship with.

Killer Juan Carlos Alfaro then shot another man dead and wounded the girl’s grandfather before turning his gun on himself after a six-hour standoff with police.

Spain’s age of consent is just 13 – the lowest in Europe and one of the lowest in the world. But when unemployed Alfaro grabbed one of his 15 guns and fired four bullets into victim Almudena as she and her friends walked through the village of El Salobral, near Albacete, the nation’s conscience was triggered.

The tragedy highlighted the potential volatility of liaisons between adults and youngsters barely into their teens. And it has put Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy under new pressure to raise the consent age – possibly to 15.

When Rajoy took power a year ago, Save the Children sent him a list of ten priorities for the infant agenda – and among them was the age of sexual consent.

Britain’s minimum age (16) is among the highest in Europe – and was highlighted recently when 30-year-old schoolteacher Jeremy Forrest fled to France with his 15-year-old pupil Megan Stammers.

Europe wondered what the fuss was about as UK police hunted down the couple in a frenzy of headlines, culminating in Forrest being arrested and charged with abducting a child.

Most other nations sanction consensual sex at 14 or 15, though in Turkey and Malta the age of consent is as high as 18. But Spain’s ridiculously low 13 clearly opens the door to dangerous liaisons – with Alfaro’s crazed rampage the ultimate threat.

Alfaro’s uncle Angel Aparicio told reporters his nephew was not a criminal and would not have gone on the shooting rampage had he not been pressured by Almudena’s family to stop seeing her.

Some local people confirmed that the girl had been ordered to break it off while Alfaro’s mother, Candida, said in a TV interview that her son tried to end the relationship on several occasions but the girl continued to harass him. She added that he became very nervous when Almudena’s mother began stalking him.

After his deadly attack on Almudena, Alfaro shot her grandfather and killed a 40-year-old man before hiding over the weekend in a shed on the outskirts of El Salobral.

He called the Guardia to confess to the killings and after a massive manhunt with sniffer dogs, was tracked down on Monday morning.

After he opened fire on officers, negotiators from the Guardia’s Special Intervention Unit (SIU) tried to convince him to surrender but he refused.  Six hours later he killed himself.

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