Saturday, 1 October 2011

Church murderer had no links to victims; baby well, mother dead

MADRID (Agencies) A pregnant woman was killed on Thursday as she attended Mass at the church of Santa María del Pinar in northern Madrid. Rocío Piñeiro, 36, died, but her baby was saved after a Caesaren operation carried out on her body, and is being cared for at a hospital. The killer, Iván Berral Cid, 36, was a mentally unbalanced indigent who had a restraining order on his former partner. However, police sources say he had no known connection to his victim. Berral had a piece of paper with him that read: "The devil is following me." He injured another woman in the same attack, and shot himself in the mouth.>>>
Berral had accumulated a number of convictions since the age of 20, including some for violence and drug trafficking.

He burst into the church armed with a modified starting pistol he was carrying in a pedle tennis racket cover. He pulled it out and fired four times, hitting Rocío in the head with at least one shot. The woman was attending Mass with her mother.

Witnesses say that it was an event "of pure hate."

Dr Ceferina Cuesta carried out the Caesarean at the church as soon as she and her ambulance crew arrived. She said, "It had to be done immediately, there was no time to lose." The baby was rushed to the neonatal unit at a hospital that has remained unnamed at the request of the woman's family.

The father of the child was allowed to see his partner and child at the church although he was "in deepn shock, according to medical personnel at the scene.

The parish priest, Francisco Santos, said the murderer had been around the church that morning, and had asked the time for Mass, "but he seemed well behaved and quite normal" When he hear the gunshots, the priest fled into the vestry.

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