In an extraordinary turn of events, Pedro Dias – the 44-year-old man who has been eluding Portugal’s police for almost a month following the so-called “Beira bloodbath” – has handed himself in, saying: “I didn’t kill anyone”.
Giving an interview before his arrest to RTP investigative reporter Sandra Felgueiras, Dias said he would have given himself up earlier, but feared for his life.
He claimed he received a call from a GNR sergeant the morning he went on the run telling him he would be killed.
It was shortly after this that national tabloid Correio da Manhã reported that police had been ordered to “shoot to kill” the man suspected of killing two people – one of them a GNR agent – and injuring two others, one of them seriously.
This story was later refuted by police sources – which stressed “shoot-to-kill orders” were completely contrary to normal procedure – but it did not take long for the media to start questioning the authorities’ version of what happened in Aguiar da Beira in the early hours of the morning of October 11 (click here)
Thus Dias’ revelations will stir up a hornet’s nest and open the way for all the inconvenient questions that have been lurking in the wings.
According to TSF radio this evening, Dias has been taken to a PJ detention ‘zone’ in Guarda where he will spend the night ahead of going before a magistrate.
Reporting from Arouca, where Portugal’s ‘most wanted man’ was finally taken into custody earlier this evening, Sandra Felgueiras explained that he told her “he didn’t want to be dead”.
He also said he had tried to hand himself in “several times” but did not feel “there were the necessary conditions of safety to do so”.
The man dubbed “Piloto”, due to the fact that he knows how to fly small planes, explained that he had survived living in abandoned houses, and at one point even swam across the Douro river. But at no point did he leave the country, he stressed – adding that “everything has been misconstrued and that Portugal has witnessed living proof in the last few weeks that we do not live in a State of Law where police are able to evaluate who is the guilty party”.
According to Público, Dias decided to hand himself in last week, and sent a note to his family to this effect, before getting a message to RTP, directing them to the address where he was eventually arrested.
As Sandra Felgueiras explained on air, this was “an historic moment for Portuguese television” as never before have journalists assisted in a detention such as this.
It was all done on Pedro Dias request through his lawyers, as he felt “persecuted by the GNR” who, Felgueiras added, were not included in the extraordinary events of this evening.
As to the rest, Dias told RTP before he was lead away in handcuffs that it is now a matter for the courts.
Felgueiras promises further revelations in her weekly slot Sexta às 9.
UPDATE WEDNESDAY PM:
A 61-year-old woman has been made an “arguida” (official suspect) by the PJ, on suspicion that she helped Pedro Dias during his weeks on the run.
Noticiasaominuto reports that Dias is still being questioned by police and has not yet been presented before a magistrate. The father-of-two faces a number of criminal accusations: two of qualified murder, three of attempted murder, two of robbery and one of theft.