Heavy sentences for PSP “gold thieves” who raided 16 homes

Two PSP agents from Coimbra have been found guilty of a string of burglaries on homes in Mirandela do Corvo and Vila Nova de Poiares. The duo is understood to have operated in 2012-2013 – targeting residences with gold and other valuables on the premises. José Nogueira, 45, was sentenced to 11 years in jail, while colleague Nilton Torrinha received a custodial sentence of 10-and-a-half years.

The court heard how Nogueira was caught red-handed robbing the house of a former tax office director. Masked and carrying his service pistol, Nogueira battered his terrified victim over the head before the man’s cries alerted the neighbourhood.

According to press reports at the time, locals were stupefied when they realised they had foiled an armed robbery being committed by a well-known policeman.

Nogueira had been “off sick” for three months at the time, and explained his actions saying he was going through financial difficulties.

He has since been under house arrest and helped the authorities round-up his accomplices.

Torrinha, however, maintained he was innocent of involvement, claiming only to have had a professional relationship with Nogueira.

His lawyer has complained that PJ police conducting the investigation took Nogueira’s word on her client’s guilt without giving Torrinha any benefit of doubt.

“They were convinced from the start,” she told journalists.

Nogueira’s lawyer too has said she feels her client’s sentence was too harsh.

“We did not expect such a harsh sentence,” she said after the trial, intimating that Nogueira will be appealing.

For now, both men will continue under house arrest until their convictions are processed.

natasha.donn@algarveresident.com