The two young women charged with one of the Algarve’s most macabre murders in recent years have been handed completely different sentences today at Portimão Court.
Maria Malveiro received the maximum sentence – 25 years in prison – for the murder of 21-year-old Diogo Gonçalves, while Mariana Fonseca was cleared of murder charges and handed a four-year suspended sentence for the crimes of desecration of a corpse, theft and fraud.
Maria will also have to pay Diogo’s father compensation amounting to over €265,000.
As commentators on CMTV said shortly after the announcement was made, the news has come as a “complete surprise”.
The horrific murder shocked the country in March 2020 when several body parts were found in different areas of the Algarve. They were later confirmed to belong to 21-year-old Diogo Gonçalves, who was seduced by one of the women, suffocated and killed.
The couple aimed to get their hands on the €70,000 compensation that he had recently received for the death of his mother in a hit-and-run road accident.
However, their plan to drug him and steal the money while he was unconscious went horribly wrong.
According to Correio da Manhã, Diogo was in love with Maria, who drove to his home to try to seduce him, drug him and tie him to a chair, all while Mariana – at the time a nurse at Lagos Hospital who provided the drugs – waited in the car.
Maria is understood to have left the house shortly after. When she returned, she reportedly jumped on Diogo who was standing and put him in a headlock. She is said to have strangled him for so long he lost consciousness.
Adds CM, it was at this time that Mariana walked in, checked Diogo’s vital signs and was able to revive him.
When he regained consciousness, however, Maria reportedly “jumped on him” once again, suffocating him until he fell to the ground.
This is when Maria is said to have taken a knife and cut Diogo’s fingers in an attempt to access his phone and withdraw money from his account.
The horrific story continued with Maria stealing a cleaver from a supermarket to dismember Diogo’s body in cold blood – the couple was reportedly inspired by the American TV show ‘Dexter’.
The two women are said to then have scattered his body parts in different areas of the Algarve (Sagres and Pego do Inferno, Tavira).
However, according to today’s sentence delivered by Portimão Court, the blame for his death was put entirely on Maria Malveiro.
Reports Observador, the judges found that Mariana’s attempt to revive Diogo “dispels any attempt” on her behalf of trying to kill him.
Mariana also claimed later that everything she did was out of “love” for Maria. The court seems to have accepted this explanation, admitting that Mariana was “influenced” by Maria.
The Public Prosecutor’s Office had initially called for a sentence of at least 20 years for both suspects.
An appeal can still be filed. Until then, Maria will remain in custody while Mariana will await further developments in freedom.