BARCELONA: Three Spanish teenagers fascinated by the film Clockwork Orange burnt a homeless woman to death for kicks.
Maria Rosario Endrinal Petite, 50, who had been sleeping in a Barcelona doorway, was attacked and set on fire with solvent. She died in hospital. It is believed to be the culmination of months of attacks on homeless people by the gang, who had become obsessed with the Stanley Kubrick film and with violent videogames.
The case has cast a shadow over Barcelona, seen by Britons as a highly fashionable and relatively crime-free city.
Senora Endrinal, a mother of one, had sought refuge in the doorway of the bank in Sant Gervasi, one of the most expensive areas of Barcelona.
Footage taken by security cameras late at night last weekend shows two youths, named in court as Ricard Pinilla and Oriol Plana, both 18, throwing a traffic cone and a bottle at her.
At one point Pinilla throws an orange at Senora Endrinal. Police have taken this and the gang's obsession with attacking homeless people as proof of their fascination with the 1971 film that Kubrick withdrew in Britain because he was concerned that it was provoking copycat attacks.
A 16-year-old, named only in court as Juan Jose, is shown by the security cameras arriving with a bottle of flammable liquid a few hours after the first incident. The youths are seen to smile as Plana taps his nose and they cover their faces before setting fire to Senora Endrinal.
The day after the murder police overheard a conversation in an Internet cafe about three regular customers who had boasted of killing a homeless person. The arrests were made.
The youngest of those held claimed that they had attempted to set fire to the building, not to kill the woman.
But it has been reported that the youths filmed attacks on their mobile phones and exchanged pictures with others at the Internet cafe.
One person who knew the alleged attackers told El Mundo that the three were "proud" of these attacks. "It was how they amused themselves, attacking the homeless at night," one unnamed friend said.
They were also fixated with a violent videogame called Counterstrike, giving themselves code names. The three were also fans of the Spanish pop group Estirpe (Lineage), whose songs about extreme nationalism, violence and hatred for immigrants are popular among neo-Nazi gangs.
A judge ordered the three to be held in custody while the investigation continues.
This year a government report highlighted a serious rise in the number of neo-Nazi and Latin American gangs in Spain, centred on Madrid and Barcelona. The neo-Nazi gangs had committed 91 crimes, although violence between Latin gangs was said to be more extreme.
Source: China Daily