María del Carmen García, the Benejúzar woman who set her daughter’s rapist on fire, was finally let out of prison on Monday, but at this stage only on day release. She is still required to return to Fontcalent prison in Alicante to sleep.
Antonio Cosme, the man who attacked García’s 13-year old daughter, was himself sentenced to nine years in prison for the rape but in 2005, while he was out on parole, the rapist returned to Benejúzar, where he bumped into García. “How’s your daughter?” he asked.
Her response was dramatic. She bought some petrol, walked into a bar, poured it over the convicted rapist and set him on fire. Cosme died a week later as a result of his burns.
Garcia has always insisted that she is not a murderer and at the time of the trial many people signed petitions requesting clemency. Her original sentence of nine and a half years was subsequently reduced to just five and a half due to partially diminished responsibility
As she was collected from the prison by her family Garcia said “In all these years, I’ve never lost my temper. I knew that this day was going to come”.
In all she has now spent three and a half years in prison of the five and a half to which she was sentenced. Having spent a year in prison whilst awaiting trial she will eventually complete her sentence in August next year.
Maria is now 65 years of age. Following her release she said that the thing that gave her strength during all these years was knowing that one day she would return into the arms of her children and her grandchildren.
But although she will now enjoy a regime of semi freedom her release was blemished by the knowledge that, whilst in prison, her husband had been diagnosed with cancer of the larynx, “but at least I will now be able to help him as he seeks to recover,” she said.