Failed Spanish mushroom inspector in failed bid to blow up ruling party HQ

Man ploughed his car into the headquarters of the Partido Popular

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The 37-year-old Spaniard claimed to be a ruined businessman whose alternative career path as a mushroom health inspector flopped.

Yesterday, he caused widespread alarm after he ploughed his car, containing two gas cylinders, into the headquarters of Spain’s ruling party, the Partido Popular. Nobody was injured in the attack on the building in Madrid’s commercial centre, which took place shortly before 7am. However, one cleaner narrowly avoided being struck by the vehicle, which burst through a window at what the Madrid president, Esperanza Aguirre, for the Partido Popular [Ppartido P] called “incredible speed”.

Named as “Daniel P B” from the village of Bronchales in the north-easterly region of Aragon, the attacker reportedly told police he was a businessman and was desperate after facing financial ruin.

However, his background remains unclear, as ABC and El Mundo quoted local sources as saying he had been unemployed for over two years. Last June, he came close to embarking on a career as a government-employed health inspector for the wild mushrooms that are a tourist attraction in his densely wooded home region. But he failed to pass the selection board exam. Two gas cylinders and various bags containing fertiliser  were found in the car boot, along with a detonator.

A spokesperson for the Spanish police, Antonio Nevado, said he believed the action was not linked to terrorist groups. Other police sources said the material uncovered would have been “unlikely” to cause an explosion and claimed the attacker had had possible psychiatric problems.

The action was condemned by the Socialist PSOE party, while the PP’s parliamentary spokesman, Rafael Hernando, expressed concern that “somebody’s achievements or failures in business could be due to the PP”.

Despite Spain’s worst recession in half a century formally being over, its effects continue to bite deeply. Of its five million unemployed 3.5 million jobs were shed between 2008 and 2013. Discouragingly for the PP, in a recent poll for El Pais, just 15 per cent of those surveyed said they believed the ruling party had the most realistic policies for dragging Spain out of the recession.