Supreme Court upholds Rosa Peral's conviction over Guàrdia Urbana murder

The former police officer will have to serve 25 years in prison for the death of her ex-partner, also a police officer

3 min
Albert Lçopez and Rosa Peral, during the trial for the Guardia Urbana's crime

BarcelonaFormer Barcelona local police officers Rosa Peral and Albert López planned and carried out the murder of Pedro Rodríguez, who belonged to the same force and was Peral's partner. Rodríguez was found burnt in the trunk of his car at Foix reservoir in May 2017. The jury that tried them a year and a half ago had no doubt of their guilt. Neither did the judge, who sentenced them to 25 and 20 years in prison, respectively, nor did Catalonia' High Court, which upheld the conviction. The case ended up reaching the Supreme Court after Peral and López's appeals, but the court has upheld the original ruling.

The "bad state of the body" and the "mutual accusations" between the two convicts prevented investigators from establishing how Rodríguez died and which of them killed him, but the Supreme Court, like the other courts which heard the case, had no doubt that the two former officers were behind it. Whether it was at the hands of one or the other, or both, the magistrates insist that Peral and López designed a plan to get Rodríguez out of the way and be able to restore their relationship as lovers.

The murder brought to the surface different triangles of lies and betrayals inside Barcelona's local police, known as the Guàrdia Urbana: Peral and López initially tried to make investigators think that it was Peral's ex-husband, who is a member of Catalan Police Mossos d'Esquadra, who murdered Rodríguez. The prosecutor questioned Peral's father, a neighbour and a Guàrdia Urbana corporal, but he suspected they were trying to protect Peral. In fact, Peral's career, her lover's and the victim's all had dark points, such as the operation in which they participated and which ended with the death of a detainee in Montjuic, or the fact that Rodríguez was removed from the force after an incident with a motorist in L'Arrabassada a year before he was killed.

The courts has been unable to resolve all the questions surrounding the case. Nevertheless, the Supreme Court believes that there are two "inobjectable aspects": Rodríguez died at Peral's house in the early morning of May 2, 2017 and there is no other hypothesis that explains that someone else killed him. The couple had spent the previous day as a family, and once at home Rodríguez went up to the double bedroom, to the upper floor of the house. Analysis of the convicted's cell phones showed that Peral and López exchanged calls and messages that night and that López ended up showing up at Peral's house in the early hours of the morning. The fact that the dogs did not warn of the entry of a stranger to the house and that Rodríguez had spent a quiet day with his family and was sleeping peacefully at the time of the crime make the Supreme Court believe that the murder "is a previously designed plan" by the two convicted.

With malice aforethought

The magistrates also have no doubt when it comes to maintaining the aggravating circumstances for the two convicted. To do so, they take into account that the crime scene had been cleaned, that Peral manipulated the victim's mobile phone the days after the murder, that initially the two defendants agreed to give the same version of the facts and divert suspicions towards organised crime or Peral's ex-husband, and that they got rid of part of the furniture of the defendant's house, such as a sofa that was in the basement and that has never been found. The Supreme Court takes into account that the two convicted are "people who die to their profession" could have thought of all the possibilities to eliminate the evidence of any "physical confrontation" with the victim on the night of the crime, whatever "the method they used to kill Pedro Rodríguez".

The Supreme Court's sentence puts an end to this crime's journey through the courts. The verdict is now final. While the case was being reviewed, the Barcelona courts also investigated other derivatives of the case, such as the perjury cases against Peral's father and neighbour. As ARA advanced, the case was eventually thrown out.