Parents of Benidorm balcony fall victim Kirsty Maxwell appeal judge's decision to drop murder probe

Daily Mail Online 3 weeks ago

The parents of Kirsty Maxwell, who died when she plunged from the tenth-floor balcony of a Benidorm hotel, have appealed a Spanish judge's decision to shelve an investigation into her death.

Brian and Denise Curry from West Lothian started a legal fight to overturn the decision to drop a murder probe into five British men who were staying in the room where the bank worker fell.   

They have asked Judge Ana Isabel Garcia-Galbis to review her ruling last month with a lengthy written submission arguing she was wrong to conclude there was no evidence her death was a homicide and the five former suspects could be involved.

Their legal team has claimed the judge mistakenly made the amount of alcohol Kirsty drank the night before her April 29, 2017, death a defining factor in what happened, and highlighted her failure to sanction proper DNA tests on the men.

Kirsty Maxwell, 27 (pictured with her husband of six months Adam) from West Lothian in Scotland, was on a friend's hen party in the Spanish resort of Benidorm on April 29, 2017, when she fell from a tenth-floor balcony
Kirsty Maxwell, 27 (pictured with her husband of six months Adam) from West Lothian in Scotland, was on a friend's hen party in the Spanish resort of Benidorm on April 29, 2017, when she fell from a tenth-floor balcony 
Mrs Maxwell had been drinking before she left her friends to find one of their group and mistakenly entered a room occupied by five men she did not know before falling from this balcony (pictured)
Mrs Maxwell had been drinking before she left her friends to find one of their group and mistakenly entered a room occupied by five men she did not know before falling from this balcony (pictured)

Their lawyer Roberto Sanchez has countered with his own submission urging the judge to reject the appeal, highlighting the police report concluding Kirsty's death was most likely a terrible accident and denying claims of contradictions in his clients' version of events.

If the judge as expected sticks to her original decision, Kirsty's family are expected to take their battle to a higher court where three judges will be asked to look at the case after months' more uncertainty.

Court insiders said today the appeals process could take until next summer to resolve if judges from the Provincial Court in Alicante end up intervening.

The five Brits under investigation - Joseph Graham; Ricky Gammon; Anthony Holehouse; Callum Northridge; and Daniel Bailey - were told on September 24 they were in the clear.

Ana Isabel Garcia-Galbis ruled there was 'no evidence' pointing to their involvement in 27-year-old Kirsty Maxwell's death and announced she was provisionally shelving her near two-and-a-half-year homicide investigation.

Joseph Graham
Five Britons staying in the apartment where Mrs Maxwell fell - including Joseph Graham (left) and Ricky Gammon (right) - were placed under investigation for murder, but the probe has been dropped and a judge ruled there was 'no evidence' her death was a homicide 
It is thought Kirsty entered the men's apartment by accident around 8am on April 29 while looking for a friend who was staying on the same floor, moments before falling to her death
It is thought Kirsty entered the men's apartment by accident around 8am on April 29 while looking for a friend who was staying on the same floor, moments before falling to her death

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 British men was taken following a long campaign by Kirsty's family to 'get justice' over her death after her grieving husband Adam Maxwell 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'.

One of the men pictured arriving at court in July 2017
One of the men pictured (left) arriving at court in July 2017 and (right) heating engineer Callum Northridge, who was also questioned by Spanish police 

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.'

The former suspects' lawyer said after the decision his clients were looking forward to getting on with the rest of their lives after nearly 'three years of pain and uncertainty'.

He said: 'My clients were investigated on suspicion of a crime of homicide which in Spain carries a prison sentence of 10 to 15 years.

'They have said from day one they didn't have anything to do with Kirsty's death and their reaction has corroborated that.

'They didn't try to escape from the apartments where she died, they cooperated from the very first moment and when Joseph Graham's friends were placed under investigation they returned to Spain voluntarily to be questioned in court.

The apartment block where Kirsty Maxwell died in April 2017 after falling from a balcony
The apartment block where Kirsty Maxwell died in April 2017 after falling from a balcony

'They have had a bad time of it over these last nearly two-and-a-half years but their conscience has always been clear.

'This decision enables them to get on with their lives, although they know this decision can be appealed and my personal opinion is that it will be appealed.'

Kirsty's parents branded the Spanish judge's decision to provisionally shelve the court probe as 'farcical', saying it left them angry and physically sick.

Retired CID detective David Swindle, who has been helping the dead woman's family, said Kirsty and her loved ones appeared to have been 'let down by apparently irretrievable shortcomings in Spanish police, forensic and crime investigation procedures.'

He added: 'Spanish police did not manage the crime scene, significant witnesses, exhibits and evidence as would be expected for such a tragic loss of a young life in unexplained, confusing circumstances.'


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