Trial of young women accused of one of Algarve’s most macabre murders opens next week

Due to open next week in Portimão is the trial of two young women, charged with one of the Algarve’s most macabre murders.

21-year-old Diogo Gonçalves was lured to the home of a girl he was in love with; strangled and later dismembered with a meat-cleaver – his body parts dumped in different parts of the region.

The killing took place because two Lesbian lovers wanted to get their hands on €70,000 the young man had only recently received as compensation for his mother’s hit-and-run death four years previously.

At least, that is the prosecution’s case. 

The two young women, 20-year-old Maria Malveira Davidachwilli and Mariana Fonseca, 24, are charged with qualified murder, the desecration of a corpse, theft and fraud. 

Both initially confessed to the crime – with former nurse at Lagos hospital Mariana Fonseca later changing her story to say she was just an accomplice.

A lot has happened since the pair appeared before a judge at a remand hearing last April, pleading simply to be able to share the same jail cell at Tires women’s prison.

Their love affair has spectacularly fallen apart and now, says Expresso, “each one blames the other for being the true instigator of the murder – which they confess, was inspired by the series “Dexter” (centering on a Miami forensic expert)”.

The defence for Maria, a former security guard at the hotel in Lagoa where the victim worked, is said to be arguing that she was not given sufficient psychological evaluation.

The psychiatrist who observed her “noted that she regretted” having killed Diogo Gonçalves, but was unable to express any kind of emotion in describing the situation. She was “capable of distinguishing between right and wrong, and therefore could not be considered unimputable”, says Expresso. 

But the defence team is expected to argue that Maria Malveira has serious personality problems, “provoked by the fact that she was abandoned by her father” during her childhood.

It’s less clear what the position will be of the defence team of Mariana Fonseca who now says she “remained in her room smoking pot while her girlfriend dismembered the body and disposed of it in the sea”. Bearing in mind the process of dismembering and scattering body parts took place over a course of days, this explanation has already caused one judge to register ‘surprise’.

The case is due to open in Portimão tribunal on Wednesday.

natasha.donn@algarveresident.com