A man accused of killing an Irish tourist while on holiday in Tenerife 16 years ago has been found not guilty by a jury in Santa Cruz.
Darren Sapstead from Essex, was cleared of pushing Garry Walton in to the sea while on a booze cruse of the coast of Playa de las Americas in 1996.
He was cleared after inconsistences in the prosecution witness’s statements. Katie and Lucy Smethurst, who incriminated Mr Sapstead by approaching Manchester police 10 months after the event, change their accounts of the events that day.
Mr Walton drowned after falling in to the sea and the original inquest verdict in 1997 had been of accidental death. There was no sign of violence on Mr Walton’s body and the accused never changed his story.
Mr Sapstead was extradited to Spain in 2005, where he spent time in a Spanish jail on remand after the case was reopened. During this time he lost his £300,000 business and has spent thousands trying to clear his name. He was allowed to return to the UK on bail while a judge continued to investigate the death.