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Madrid Arena deaths

Promoter behind Madrid Arena tragedy given four-year jail sentence

Madrid court finds Miguel Ángel Flores responsible for deaths of five young girls at dance music event

A video showing the five crushes during the Madrid Arena Halloween party that occurred before tragedy struck.

Madrid’s Provincial Court has found event promoter Miguel Ángel Flores guilty of five counts of negligent homicide over a 2012 tragedy in which five young women were crushed to death during a Halloween night concert at the Madrid Arena.

The women were killed after a flare was set off during US DJ Steve Aoki’s Halloween night concert inside the arena. The commotion caused a stampede that left many concert-goers trapped inside a narrow passageway.

The company sold 17,000 tickets for the event although the venue’s capacity was just 10,620

Flores, who was also found guilty on 29 counts of causing harm through serious negligence, headed up the firm Diviertt, which was in charge of promoting the event at Madrid Arena. The company sold 17,000 tickets for the event although the venue’s capacity was just 10,620.

This overcrowding was the main cause of the tragedy, investigators found. Lax security and the blocking off of five of eight access points to the main stage also contributed, according to police.

Victims Cristina Arce and Katia Esteban were killed on the night of the tragedy, while Rocío Oña, Belén Langdon and Teresa Alonso died shortly after in hospital. All were aged between 17 and 20. 

Miguel Ángel Flores during the trial in Madrid.
Miguel Ángel Flores during the trial in Madrid.

Fourteen other defendants were handed sentences ranging from 30 months to three years over the incident, which attracted huge media attention in Spain.

Among those given jail terms are Francisco del Amo, the coordinator of operations and projects at Madridec, the municipal company responsible for managing Madrid Arena, who was sentenced to three years, and Carlos Manzanares of Kontrol 35, the firm charged with overseeing security at the venue. Manzanares was handed a sentence of two-and-a-half years.

However, police chief Emilio Monteagudo, and Simón and Carlos Viñals, the two doctors present at Madrid Arena on the night, were not found guilty of any wrongdoing.

All of the victims were women aged between 17 and 20

As part of a ruling that comes after a lengthy trial, the court also said the families of the victims will receive compensation of around €350,000 each.

The Madrid Arena case caused enormous damage to the reputation of the city’s Popular Party mayor at the time, Ana Botella, while Pedro Calvo, charged with economic affairs on the city council, resigned from his post after being officially questioned in the case.

However, no city officials were made to stand trial.

English version by George Mills.

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