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A British pensioner found dead at her home on the Costa Blanca may have been targeted in a real estate dispute, according to Spanish police.
Widow Monica Warren, 81, was shot and killed at her home near Alicante on Wednesday. Her body was found under her bed.
Police revealed yesterday they believe Mrs Warren was killed by someone she knew..
They suspect a 46-year-old mother who allegedly enlisted her 16-year-old son to help her move the body and dispose of evidence.
Widow Monica Warren, 81, was found dead under a bed at her £350,000 home near Elche, south Spain. Police explored the crime scene yesterday evening as they questioned suspects
The pair, who are being questioned following their arrest two days ago, made a court appearance earlier today.
One local report said the unnamed mother and Mrs Warren could have been involved in a property deal gone wrong.
Police are investigating a ‘financial motive’ for the sick crime, it added.
The mother has not yet been formally charged with any crime. This is common in Spain, where charges are laid shortly before trial.
A court official today said her teenage son had been remanded in a youth detention centre.
Neither has been named.
The killing took place in a housing complex by Elche, near Alicante on the Costa Brava
Police did not comment on the new possible motive but did rule out suggestions Mrs Warren was killed by an opportunistic burglar.
It was thought they might have picked the British OAP’s home at random.
Police also said they had honed in on the suspects after the mother’s car caught fire in Alicante in the early hours of Thursday morning, shortly after Mrs Warren’s bullet-riddled body was found at her home in Elche.
She subsequently reported the theft of a .22 Beretta pistol, believed to be the murder weapon recovered near the house, which she was licensed to use as a firearms enthusiast.
A plumber called out by Mrs Warren for an urgent repair raised the alarm around 7pm on Wednesday when he was unable to get her to answer the door.
He told an emergency services operator he was concerned because he had seen two people in hoodies leaving the OAP’s home and driving off in a black Peugeot.
Police said the car which caught fire on Thursday in a suspected arson was the same make and model as the one driven away from Mrs Warren’s home.
The detainees’ descriptions coincide with the ones the plumber gave them.
Overnight it was reported the female suspect only reported her gun missing after officers said they were going to check for fingerprints on the gutted Peugeot.
She was taken to court in Alicante in a police van around 9.30am local time this morning, around two hours after her son had been driven into a car park under the same court building in a police car.
The pair were taken to court after police searched her nearby home in her presence yesterday, seeking more evidence linking her to Wednesday evening’s shooting.
It’s now been suggested the killing was motivated by a financial dispute regarding real estate
Her son was also taken to the property with his defence lawyer.
More weapons are understood to have been found in the family home, although police have already said the woman they arrested practiced target shooting as a hobby and had a weapons licence.
The pair’s court hearings are taking place behind closed doors, as is customary in Spain, where only trials take place in public.
Mrs Warren, who is thought to have been born in Germany but became a naturalised British citizen through marriage, moved to Spain with UK-born husband John more than 20 years ago.
He died of cancer several years ago and she lived alone.
Friend Alan Benson, 70, who lived near her £350,000 villa on a residential estate a short drive from Elche, told The Mirror he believed she had worked as a model in London.
He added: ‘She was tall but she was incredibly thin. You could knock her over with a feather – I just don’t understand why they did it.’
Spanish police confirmed late on Thursday: ‘The National Police has arrested the alleged killers of an 81-year-old British woman whose body was found with fatal gunshot wounds on Wednesday at a villa in an area near Elche called Maitino.
‘Investigators have arrested a man and a woman thanks to the swift response of police units tasked with fighting violent crime based in Elche and the provincial police HQ in Alicante, who have coordinated their work to locate both detainees and seize the possible murder weapon, which is a short-barrelled firearm.’
They said in a later statement: ‘The suspected authors of the homicide are a 46-year-old woman and her 16-year-old son. They are both Spanish.
‘Neither has a criminal record.
‘The weapon used to shoot the victim dead was found during a painstaking search of the place where her body was found and the area immediately around it.
‘She had been shot three times and scenes-of-crimes officers concluded her body had been moved from the place she was killed to the spot where she was found.’