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Spain court jails five over deadly Halloween stampede

Three women aged between 18 and 20 were killed in a stampede at the Madrid-Arena in November 2012 © AFP/File / Dominique Faget

Madrid, Spain, Sep 27 – A Spanish court on Tuesday jailed five men over the stampede deaths of five young women at an overcrowded Halloween event they organised in 2012.

The Madrid court found the five guilty of negligent homicide and sentenced them to prison terms ranging from two-and-a-half to four years.

Another two men were fined 3,600 euros ($4,000) for their role in the deaths.

The court ordered the seven men to pay 350,000 euros ($393,000) to the families of each victim of the tragedy.

Three women aged between 18 and 20 were killed in a stampede in the early hours of November 1, 2012 at the Madrid-Arena venue, and two others aged 17 and 20 died later in hospital from their injuries.

The longest sentence was handed to Miguel Angel Flores, the owner of a private company that organised the event.

The court said that he sold 16,492 tickets for a venue that could only hold 10,620 people, “which generated obvious risk for the physical safety of those present”.

It said Flores had ordered the closure of exit routes and stairs and had sacrificed security “with the aim of making the biggest possible economic gain”.

Amateur videos and photographs of the crush, which began as the party’s star DJ started his turn, showed partygoers piling on top of each other as they squeezed into a narrow corridor.

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Many young people were in tears as they sought to reach exit doors in a panic apparently sparked by people throwing a flare and firecrackers, police and witnesses said at the time.

Spanish television broadcast recordings of calls to emergency services made by distraught friends of injured victims, in which an operator told them ambulances were unable to reach the arena due to crowds around it.

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