Manuel Delgado Villegas
(25 January 1943 – 2 February 1998), also known as El Arropiero,
was a Spanish serial killer active between 1964 and 1971.
Delgado claimed to have carried out 48 murders in
Spain, Italy and France - of these cases the Spanish police were only
able to investigate twenty-two and charged him with eight. He was
never brought to trial, as he was diagnosed with a severe mental
disorder, and in 1978 the Audiencia Nacional ordered that he be
preventively detained at Carabanchel Penitentiary Psychiatric
Hospital. He was released into the care of a psychiatric hospital in
1998 and died soon after of a smoking-related lung disease.
Manuel Delgado Villegas was born in Seville, Spain
on January 25, 1943, the son of José Delgado Martín. His mother died
during childbirth and the itinerant nature of his father's job as a
salesman meant that he and his sister Joaquina were sent to live with
their maternal grandmother in Mataró, Catalonia. Delgado and his
sister lived with their grandmother in the predominently Andalusian
neighbourhood of La Cirera. He attended school but never learned to
read and write.
In 1961, at age of 18, Delgado enlisted in the
Spanish Legion; There he learnt hand-to-hand combat techniques, and
one in particular - one of his preferred methods of killing - the
golpe legionario or golpe mortal (literally "death blow"),
a strike to the larynx with the knife-edge of the hand.
Following the disappearance of Antonia "Toñi"
Rodríguez Relinque, a 38 year-old mentally retarded woman who had been
seen on various occasions in the company of Delgado, the police
accompanied Delgado to El Puerto de Santa María police station where
he was questioned by Cadiz's Brigada de Investigación Criminal
(Criminal Investigation Division) over the disappearance of the person
who they now knew to be his girlfriend. He had initially denied
killing her, but following the discovery of her body in a secluded
spot known as Pago Galvecito, on the outskirts of El Puerto de
Santa María, on February 21, 1971 he confessed to her murder - Delgado
confessed that had strangled the woman with her own tights whilst
The local newspaper, the Diario de Cádiz,
dubbed him El estrangulador del puerto (The Puerto strangler).
Over the next few days he admitted his culpability in the murders of
At the time of his arrest it was widely reported
that he was diagnosed as having XYY syndrome which led to claims that
this may have been responsible for his violent behaviour. However, the
link between XYY syndrome and violent behaviour has been disproven by
modern studies of the condition.
In the process of investigating the veracity of his
claims the investigating magistrate of El Puerto de Santa María,
Conrado Gallardo Ros, along with detectives involved in the cases,
accompanied Delgado to the scenes of the crimes where he re-enacted
and explained the crimes. On a side note, he became the first serial
killer to travel the scenes of his crimes by airplane.
Manuel Delgado Villegas died on February 2, 1998 at
the Hospital Can Ruti in Badalona as a result of chronic
obstructive pulmonary disease.
"I saw a sleeping man leant against a wall. I
approached him and very slowly, with a large rock that I had
picked up close to the wall, hit him over the head. When I
realised that he was dead, I took his wallet and the watch on his
wrist. He had barely anything in it and the watch was crap!
Margaret Hélène Thelese Boudrie (June 20, 1967) -
A 21 year-old French student from Lyon. She was staying at Can
Plana, a holiday home five kilometres from Ibiza, along with a
Venancio Hernández Carrasco (July 20, 1968) - A
71 year-old man. Hernández was tending to his vineyards by the banks
of the Tajuña River in the town Chinchón when he was approached by
Delgado. Delgado asked him for some food, to which Hernández replied
that he was young and that if he wanted to eat that he had to work.
This comment cost him his life. His body was found floating in the
river near the San Galindo dam. The police initially reported it as
an accidental drowning.
Ramón Estrada Saldrich (April 5, 1969) - Killed
Anastasia Borrella Moreno (November 23, - 1969) -
Killed in Mataró.
Francisco Marín Ramírez (December 3, 1970) - A 28
year-old electrician for Renfe. He was a friend of Delgado. Delgado
claimed that he had killed Marín after he had made sexual advances
towards him. His body was found by a fisherman on December 12,
floating in the Guadalete river, underneath the San Alejandro
bridge in El Puerto de Santa María.
Antonia Rodríguez Relinque (January 18, 1971) - A
38 year-old woman. Delgado's girlfriend killed in El Puerto de Santa