British man is held in hunt for killer of two young women on Costa del Sol

One of Spain's biggest manhunts resulted in the arrest of a British man on the Costa del Sol yesterday in connection with the murder of two teenage girls.

Tony Alexander King, 38, a barman who moved to Spain six years ago, was arrested at his Spanish home after DNA tests allegedly linked him to the two deaths. He is also expected to be questioned in connection with the murders of two further young women in the area.

Sonia Carabantes, 17, was found naked and partly hidden beneath rocks near her home in the town of Coin, a few miles from Malaga, last month, after a five-day search.

Detectives have reportedly linked her death with the murder of Rocio Wanninkhof, 19, an au pair who was found dead a month after she vanished in September 1999. Both women had been strangled after disappearing while returning from a local festival. They were found 20 miles apart.

Earlier this week, DNA found on a cigarette near the body of Miss Wanninkhof was said to have matched that found in samples of skin taken from under Miss Carabantes' fingernails.

Police revealed yesterday that there was a genetic match between human traces found on pieces of a car-lamp cover found at Mr King's home and the scene where Miss Carabantes was found dead.

Last night, Spanish detectives were questioning Mr King in connection with the deaths of Miss Carabantes and Miss Wanninkhof as they conducted a fingertip search of his Mazda and the home in Alhaurin el Grande, a village 19 miles from Malaga.

He was also expected to be questioned about the deaths of two other women, whose cases are to be reopened in the light of Mr King's arrest: Maria Fernandez, 18, who was killed in Motril, Granada, in October 2000, and Anna Lorente, who died in September 2000 in Alora, near Malaga.

A Foreign Office spokesman said: "A British national has been arrested by national police in connection with murder.

"Consular staff are in contact with Spanish authorities and we are actively seeking access to the suspect."

A massive regional manhunt followed the disappearance of Miss Carabantes last month, with tourists and householders searching areas in an attempt to find the missing teenager. Her murder sent shockwaves through the country.

Thousands turned out at the memorial for Miss Carabantes on Wednesday, during which Antonio Dorado Soto, the Archbishop of Malaga, condemned her death as "barbaric".

Last night, there were reports that Mr King had a record for violence and robbery in Britain and that it was his Spanish wife who had reported him to police after detectives issued nationwide appeals for information into the deaths.

It is believed that Mr King helped out at the Bowers Arms, a bar popular with British and German expatriates.

His arrest was made only days after Miss Wanninkhof's former boss Cliff Stanford, founder of the technology company Redbus Interhouse, who employed her as an au pair, put up a £100,000 reward to help to find her killer.

Two years ago, Dolores Vazquez, a close friend of Miss Wanninkhof's family, was found guilty of her murder but was released last year after a retrial was ordered. The hearing, which was due to start next month, has been postponed in the light of the discovery of the DNA links.

There were reports of further links between the two murders when it was claimed that Mr King formerly worked at a Marbella hotel managed by Ms Vasquez, who was involved in a lesbian relationship with the murdered teenager's mother.

Last night, Spain's Interior Minister, Angel Acebes, said that the suspect had not commented when he was arrested and urged residents to be patient while detectives questioned him.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
Life and Style
Google celebrates the 126th anniversary of the Eiffel Tower opening its doors to the public for the first time
techGoogle celebrates Paris's iconic landmark, which opened to the public 126 years ago today
News
Cleopatra the tortoise suffers from a painful disease that causes her shell to disintegrate; her new prosthetic one has been custom-made for her using 3D printing technology
newsCleopatra had been suffering from 'pyramiding'
Life and Style
Baroness Lane-Fox warned that large companies such as have become so powerful that governments and regulators are left behind
techTech giants have left governments and regulators behind
News
people
Arts and Entertainment
Coachella and Lollapalooza festivals have both listed the selfie stick devices as “prohibited items”
music
Sport
Nigel Owens was targeted on Twitter because of his sexuality during the Six Nations finale between England and France earlier this month
rugbyReferee Nigel Owens on coming out, and homophobic Twitter abuse
Arts and Entertainment
Tracey Emin visits her 1990s work ‘My Bed’ at Tate Britain in London, where it is back on display from today
artsBut how does the iconic work stand up, 16 years on?
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Senior Web Designer / Front End Developer

£28000 - £32000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This fast expanding web managem...

Ashdown Group: Trainee Consultant - Surrey / South West London

£22000 per annum + pension,bonus,career progression: Ashdown Group: An establi...

Ashdown Group: Trainee Consultant - Surrey/ South West London

£22000 per annum + pension,bonus,career progression: Ashdown Group: An establi...

Ashdown Group: Recruitment Consultant / Account Manager - Surrey / SW London

£40000 per annum + realistic targets: Ashdown Group: A thriving recruitment co...

Day In a Page

No postcode? No vote

Floating voters

How living on a houseboat meant I didn't officially 'exist'
Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin

By Reason of Insanity

Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin
Power dressing is back – but no shoulderpads!

Power dressing is back

But banish all thoughts of Eighties shoulderpads
Spanish stone-age cave paintings 'under threat' after being re-opened to the public

Spanish stone-age cave paintings in Altamira 'under threat'

Caves were re-opened to the public
'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'

Vince Cable interview

'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'
Election 2015: How many of the Government's coalition agreement promises have been kept?

Promises, promises

But how many coalition agreement pledges have been kept?
The Gaza fisherman who built his own reef - and was shot dead there by an Israeli gunboat

The death of a Gaza fisherman

He built his own reef, and was fatally shot there by an Israeli gunboat
Saudi Arabia's airstrikes in Yemen are fuelling the Gulf's fire

Saudi airstrikes are fuelling the Gulf's fire

Arab intervention in Yemen risks entrenching Sunni-Shia divide and handing a victory to Isis, says Patrick Cockburn
Zayn Malik's departure from One Direction shows the perils of fame in the age of social media

The only direction Zayn could go

We wince at the anguish of One Direction's fans, but Malik's departure shows the perils of fame in the age of social media
Young Magician of the Year 2015: Meet the schoolgirl from Newcastle who has her heart set on being the competition's first female winner

Spells like teen spirit

A 16-year-old from Newcastle has set her heart on being the first female to win Young Magician of the Year. Jonathan Owen meets her
Jonathan Anderson: If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

British designer Jonathan Anderson is putting his stamp on venerable house Loewe
Number plates scheme could provide a licence to offend in the land of the free

Licence to offend in the land of the free

Cash-strapped states have hit on a way of making money out of drivers that may be in collision with the First Amendment, says Rupert Cornwell
From farm to fork: Meet the Cornish fishermen, vegetable-growers and butchers causing a stir in London's top restaurants

From farm to fork in Cornwall

One man is bringing together Cornwall's most accomplished growers, fishermen and butchers with London's best chefs to put the finest, freshest produce on the plates of some of the country’s best restaurants
Robert Parker interview: The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes

Robert Parker interview

The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes
Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

We exaggerate regional traits and turn them into jokes - and those on the receiving end are in on it too, says DJ Taylor