Every time a tragedy like the one that occurred this Thursday in Miami happens, where a building has collapsed causing the death of at least three people and the disappearance of almost a hundred, it is awakens the memory of other similar caseseven slightly. Spain He also had to face the pain for the collapse of a building a little over half a century ago that the life of 58 people. Happened in Los Angeles de San Rafael (Segovia). A then unknown Jesús Gil was sentenced for it and ended up with the businessman pardoned having served only part of his sentence.
Jesús Gil was convicted of the landslide that killed 58 people, but a pardon from Franco forgave him part of the sentence. (Photo: Tom Stoddart / .)
East episode, which grabbed countless headlines at the time but with the passing of the years and the rise of Jesús Gil within the world of sports and politics seemed to be falling more and more into oblivion, was one of the more blacks in the biography of the former president of Atlético from Madrid. Los Ángeles de San Rafael was one of the great projects as a builder for Gil, a young man from Soria with ‘the desire to take over the world and prosper’, as they say.
The rush to open the extension of a restaurant in the well-known Segovian urbanization ended in tragedy. It was him June 15, 1969 and there the Spar supermarket chain convention. Under that roof that fell apart they met 500 people. The final balance was 58 fatalities and more than 150 injured. Images of lifeless bodies covered with sheets made the front pages of newspapers.
Residents of the area, aware of the event, flocked to donate blood and help in whatever way they could. The Ministry of Tourism, as some chronicles recall on the occasion of the 50th anniversary, made public that Gil did not have the permits for the work carried out. He had not requested them.
The Segovia Provincial Court ruling, as El Español collects, left no room for doubt: “The works, without calculation or optional study of any kind, They were not projected or directed by any architect or surveyor or any other kind of technician (…) From what he had seen in his profession and activity as a builder at the head of the real estate, (it was believed) capable of devising, building and directing nothing less than a warehouse to expand a restaurant ”.
Jesús Gil y Gil was sentenced to five years from prison to being considered guilty of a crime of reckless negligence and involuntary manslaughter. He did not serve the entire sentence. His mother, ‘Dona Guadalupe’, started a whole campaign to get her son out of prison and did so by knocking on all the doors that she considered appropriate. Even that of the Franco family.
In February 1972, and after having served only part of his sentence and having spent only a few months in prison, the pardon signed by the dictator arrived. “I come to pardon Gregorio Jesús Gil y Gil of a quarter of the custodial sentence that was imposed on him in the said sentence,” quoted ABC.
Gil did not serve the sentence and while he was in prison, his stay was not that of a prisoner like the rest. He turned his cell in the Segovia prison into a kind of office from which he ran his business and, as the series focused on his life told, he came to receive meals from the best restaurants in the area. Directed by Enric Bach and co-written with Justin Webster, El Pionero (HBO) dedicates an important part of its four chapters to telling what happened in Los Angeles de San Rafael, why and what were the consequences.
Gil regained his freedom early through Franco’s pardon and continued with his business and ascension, becoming one of the most beloved presidents of Atlético de Madrid and an entire institution as mayor of Marbella. And that rise covered, in part, the tragedy.