Flamenco star jailed for three years over hit-and-run

Click to follow
The Independent Online

Farruquito, one of Spain's biggest flamenco stars, was yesterday jailed for three years for the hit-and-run killing of a pedestrian.

The dancer, whose real name is Juan Manuel Fernandez Montoya, was condemned for driving his BMW at 80kmh (50mph) in a 40kmh zone, skipping a red light and knocking over Benjamin Olalla, 35, almost three years ago. Farruquito, 23, was convicted in a court in Seville of manslaughter and failing to stop after an accident.

He must also pay compensation of €102,483 (£69,200) to Mr Olalla's widow, Maria Angeles Madero, and €16,550 (£11,170) to his parents. Initially, Farruquito was accused of blaming his 15-year-old brother for the fatal crash in September 2003.

But six months later, Farruquito admitted he was responsible and was arrested. The family of Mr Olalla complained Farruquito was given special treatment and allowed to carry on touring abroad while on bail.

After a trial last year, he was controversially convicted of the lesser charges of failing to stop and careless driving and given the minimum sentence of 16 months. It meant Farruquito did not have to serve any time behind bars. He was also acquitted of attempting to blame his younger brother for the accident.

Four other defendants, including Farruquito's uncle, were also cleared of pretending the brother was driving.

Last year's ruling was condemned by the safety group Stop Accidents and the prosecution appealed against the sentence. The safety group's president, Ana Maria Campo, described the outcome of the original hearing as "a joke and a tremendous injustice".

Montoya is the son of the flamenco singer Juan Fernandez Flores "El Moreno". His grandfather, Farruco, was considered the best flamenco dancer of the 20th century.