THE grieving family of alleged murder victim Stephen Mallon are in Spain for the trial of 15 men accused of involvement in his death.
Widow Teresa Mallon and daughter Jenny have travelled to Malaga to find out exactly what happened to the 49-year-old Southbourne roofer.
The Bournemouth dad is thought to have plunged to his death from a ledge as he and his twin sons, aged just 16 at the time, tried to escape from a gang in the village of Competa in June 2009.
One man is accused of homicide, two for causing injury with a dangerous object and the remainder with lesser offences for their part in the incident.
The trial began at Malaga provincial Court after an agonising five-year wait for Mr Mallon’s family.
The court heard father-of-three Mr Mallon was kicked and punched and had a bottle smashed over his head before being pushed from a ledge as he tried to escape from the gang in the village of Competa.
He died from his injuries 11 days later.
The fatal attack came as he had been celebrating with his twin sons, Carl and Peter, ahead of their 17th birthday when an argument broke out in La Estrella pub, Competa, where the family had a holiday villa.
Prosecutors say the 15 accused locals, aged 18 to 25 at the time, part of a larger group attacked the Mallons and three friends with glass bottles, plant pots, belts and sticks outside the pub leaving Carl with his hand broken by a metal bar and his brother with a broken nose.
They are seeking a homicide conviction – and a 12-year jail sentence – against Jose Jimenez who is alleged to have pushed the dad 13ft off a ledge on to a concrete drive “with the intention of ending his life”.
Prosecutors will also demand that Jimenez pay damages of £97,900 to Stephen’s widow Teresa and £73,400 to each of the three children.
Two of the accused could be jailed for four years if convicted of causing injury with a dangerous object, while 13 face a one-year prison term for their part in the “riotous brawl”.
Private prosecutor Javier Florido hired by Stephen’s family, in a parallel case, accuse both Jimenez and a man alleged to have attacked him with a bottle – Juan Ortega Gonzalez – of homicide and will demand 15-year jail sentences.
Mr Mallon’s body remains in a mortuary as the coroner is bound by the Spanish authorities to not release the body for a funeral until after the trial, which has been held up by administrative delays.
Teresa and Jenny Mallon, both dressed in black, attended the Malaga court hearing where 10 of the 15 defendants testified yesterday and claimed they were defending themselves.
In a statement, Jenny Mallon, who graduated from the University of St Andrews last year, previously said that the family was anxious to pay their “final farewell” with “a respectful funeral for our decent, hardworking, devoted father”.
Teresa Mallon told journalists yesterday she was seeking “justice” for her dead husband.