Widow jailed for husband’s death loses pension

Woman forced to return the more than 32,000 euros she has received since January 2008

Social Security has refused to continue paying a 79-year-old Galician woman the 640-euro widow’s pension she had been receiving for the last 25 years on account of the fact she was convicted of killing her husband. The organization is also forcing her to return over 32,000 euros she has received since January 2008.

L. A. V. of Zamáns in Vigo province was sentenced to 12 years in December 1987 after a Pontevedra court found her responsible for the death of her husband, D. H. She said she had acted in “self-defense” when, in her account, D. H., a heavy drinker who had moved out of the family home three years before but continued to threaten and attack the woman and her seven children, returned to the house with a gun and attempted to shoot her.

Armed with a stick, L. A. V. and one of her sons, who was carrying a pitchfork, set about beating D. H. to teach him a lesson. They took him to a nearby bar and called the police. He died in hospital the next day. “If he wasn’t dead, I would be,” she said.

The sentence did not recognize L. A. V.’s excuse of legitimate defense, but did accept the extenuating circumstances of a crime of passion. The son, who was also sentenced to 12 years, was reprieved one year later, while L. A. V. was released after five years.

She says she does not know from where the complaint that led Social Security to review her pension after so many years came. The notification letter she received said she had 15 days to appeal, but with three jobless sons at home she says she cannot afford to repay the money.

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