Youngster’s death on National Service Day was “not negligent homicide”

Years after 18-year-old Ana Rita Lucas fell to her death from a worn cable-slide on National Service Day her shocked parents have seen all military personnel involved in the tragedy absolved of negligent homicide.

Despite the fact that the Public Ministry had prepared a case for ‘grossly negligent homicide’, alleging that there was a “total lack of care and attention” in the setting up of the slide – which itself was over 30 years old – and despite the declarations of a judge who said the “whole system was a time bomb”, no-one is to be held accountable for the loss of a bright young woman’s life weeks before she was due to start university to study law.

Ana Rita’s death came in May 2011 during mandatory exercises on National Service Day in Serra do Pilar, Vila Nova de Gaia. The cable-slide the youngster was on snapped, sending her crashing from a height of between five to seven metres.

Four soldiers were accused of negligent homicide, with the case against them alleging they had shown “a total lack of care, judgement and manifest disrespect for the rules of safety of equipment”, but the case was continually delayed – only coming to court almost four years after Ana Rita’s death.

The dead girl’s parents have been described as “disgusted” by the verdict.

The Lucas’ have won a claim for compensation over the tragedy, and should be receiving a lump sum payment of €200,000 from the Ministry of Defence by August this year.

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