Shock as PJ inspector gets 17-year jail term for murder after being absolved of crime last year

Eight months after being cleared of murder and be allowed to return to work, PJ inspector Ana Saltão has been slapped with a 17-year jail term and forbidden “from exercising her job” for five years.

Coimbra’s Court of Appeal sentenced the 38-year-old inspector yesterday, overturning the decision made by judges last September, who ruled there was not sufficient proof to convict Saltão for the shooting of her husband’s grandmother.

According to news reports at the time, the decision had left “the whole PJ in shock”.

But now it is Saltão’s lawyer who describes herself as in shock over the new ruling.

Talking to reporters after sentencing, she said: “I am absolutely surprised, as I know the whole case very well and there is nothing that can allow for a conviction at this time. We shall be appealing to the Supreme Tribunal of Justice.”

Thus, for now, Saltão remains a free woman – pending the outcome of the next appeal.

The case goes back to November 2012 when Saltão is understood to have shot her husband’s grandmother, 80-year-old Filomena Gonçalves, 14 times.

When Saltão was cleared of the charges against her last year, judges said that the chances that she had committed the crime were “very low”, although they could not confirm with certainty that she was innocent.

But yesterday, Coimbra’s appeal court bench showed that they had “no doubts that the defendant killed her husband’s grandmother”, wrote national tabloid Correio da Manhã, explaining that the motive had been to inherit the grandmother’s money.

According to CM, both Saltão and her PJ inspector husband had “serious financial problems”.

The sentences handed out yesterday involved a 16-year jail term for murder and a four-year term for the crime of “embezzlement” – relating to the fact that Saltão is believed to have used a Glock pistol stolen from a colleague in the force.

The cumulative punishment was set at 17 years in prison. The Public Ministry had asked for 25 years behind bars, wrote Lusa yesterday.