Cement factory owner cleared in copper thief case in Alicante.

THE owner of an old cement factory in Alicante has been cleared of negligent homicide. The widow of the deceased man, who accessed the factories power house last September to pull out copper wires, subsequently dying, had appealed to the Provincial Court.

The deceased gained access to the factory in Espartal Industrial Park through a hole in the fence. Apparently the deceased was a gypsy in his 50s who collected scrap metal and other objects in a cart and was not a habitual thief. That day he had decided to enter the old cement factory to take a few cables to sell for food, unaware that the facilities were still running electricity, his widow claimed.

Since there was a clearly marked high-voltage sign – 20,000 volts to be exact – which warned of death if touched, the Provincial Court ruled that there was no “criminal guilt” or even a “slight negligence” on the part of factory owner Cristina Ferrandez.

The widow still has the possibility to appeal to a higher court.

High copper prices in recent years have offered a tempting incentive to thieves and people suffering economic difficulties. Many suffer severe burns or even death as a consequence.

By Nicole Hallett

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