Nineteen months after the horrible death of Portimão schoolboy Rodrigo Lapa hope has rekindled that his killer will finally face justice.
The dead boy’s Brazilian stepfather, who fled Portugal the day Rodrigo was reported as ‘missing’, has at last been interviewed by PJ police, in the company of Brazilian counterparts.
Reports suggest he has been living in a “problematic neighbourhood” in his hometown district of Cuiabá “where an average of six murders take place everyday”.
Tabloid Correio da Manhã claims the man’s ‘defence’ is that he “doesn’t remember anything that involves the disappearance and subsequent death” of 15-year-old Rodrigo.
In the company of his lawyer, Joaquim Lara Pinto is described as having said that he is suffering from post-traumatic stress.
This is a different approach to the emphatic declarations previously cited by Pinto’s lawyer in which he said his client “denied all the charges and was innocent”.
Campaigning Portuguese lawyer Pedro Proença has been pushing for this result for months.
Seven months ago, accompanying Rodrigo’s father Sérgio, he made a personal appeal to the Attorney General’s office in Lisbon (click here).
At the time, the pair were assured that while Lapa cannot be extradited to Portugal to face charges, he could be tried in Brazil.
This is not the perfect solution, Proença has agreed, but if found guilty, Lapa could be handed down a higher sentence in Brazil where the 25-year ‘limit’ for murder does not exist.
For now, Lapa has been ‘freed’ pending a murder trial, says CM.
It is still not clear if he has been officially made an ‘arguido’.