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Saturday, July 2, 2016
Moroccan who murdered former British Olympic diver Peter Tarsey and wife following mystery row is jailed for 31 years
A Moroccan painter who stormed the home of former British Olympic diver Peter Tarsey and his wife Jean and shot them both dead has been jailed for 31 years.
Mr Tarsey, known locally as David, and his wife Jean, were found cuddling each other on their sofa at their ex-pat home in Spain with single bullet wounds to their heads
Painter Driss Drizi, 63, reportedly confessed during questioning to shooting Mrs Tarsey in the face and Mr Tarsey in the neck after a row.
He was jailed after striking a deal with prosecutors by confessing to his crimes during a pre-trial court hearing.
He was facing a 42-year prison sentence if convicted of the pair’s March 26 2015 shotgun killings at trial.
Judge Jose Daniel Mira Perceval ended up jailing him for 15 years for each murder plus another year for illegal possession of a firearm after his plea bargain deal.
Mum-of-two Mrs Tarsey was shot first before her husband, a former engineer who competed in the 1956 Melbourne Olympics as well as the 1954 and 1958 Commonwealth Games, was murdered.
Drizi was arrested last September after an exhaustive police investigation into the murders in Xalo, near Benidorm.
Reports at the time said the immigrant, an acquaintance of David’s, had confessed during questioning to killing the couple, both 77, originally from west London, after a row.
The horrific nature of the shootings was laid bare in an indictment released by local state prosecutors in May when they revealed they were seeking a 42-year-prison sentence for Drizi.
They said he stormed back to the caravan where he lived after an argument with David to fetch an ORTGIES 7.65mm Browning pistol he kept hidden there before returning to the Tarseys’ home “with the intention of ending the couple’s lives.”
Revealing Mrs Tarsey was shot first in the face, local state prosecutors said in the indictment: “She was sat on the sofa and taking no part in the argument and had no way of reacting.
"It resulted in her husband David immediately turning towards her to try to protect her.
“Whilst deprived of any possibility of defence, the accused shot him in the neck, causing the instantaneous deaths of both.”
Their bodies were discovered three days later when friends they were due to have Sunday lunch with raised the alarm. It was never made clear why the killer had argued with Mr Tarsey.
Drizi, who was due to be tried by a jury later this month, struck his deal during a pre-trial hearing at a court in Alicante on Wednesday.
He had been expected to plead guilty to manslaughter but not murder at the trial if it had gone ahead.
The written sentence confirming his 31-year jail term is understood to have been released yesterday.
As well as being sentenced to more than three decades in prison, Drizi has also been ordered to pay £125,000 to each of the Tarseys’ grown-up sons Alexei and Sascha.
Alexei, 50, a chef on a private yacht, revealed just before Drizi’s arrest how he was working in the Caribbean when he heard the news of his parents’ murder.
His brother called the boat and the call was put through to the kitchen.
Recalling the moment he was told the terrible news, he said: “I just knew something was up because my brother would very rarely call me on a satellite phone.
"I was shocked, I didn't know what to think or do. I wouldn't have been 100 per cent surprised if my father had died of natural causes, but to find out they had been murdered at home was extremely shocking. It was very, very unexpected.
"That was a Sunday evening. When I finally got to Spain on the Wednesday, my brother was already there and the investigation was apparently well under way.
"I don't know if it's properly sunk in even now. I think it will take quite a long time before we can digest what the hell has happened, and find out why.”
Expat Susan Keightley, 72, a friend of the couple who brought their Spanish villa in 1990, described them at the time as “lovely.”
She said: "Jean did a lot of work for charities, including one looking after abandoned dogs.
"David was always working in the garden.
"He'd been an Olympic diver and we used to dive into their pool from the garden wall.