The man suspected of causing the fire that killed three people in Funchal in August 2016 was sentenced to 14 years in prison on Thursday 6th July 2017. He was sentenced after being found guilty of the crimes of (arson) aggravated forest fire and gross negligent homicide.
The Court proved the facts and considered that the defendant wilfully and freely set fire to the forest less than 100 meters of houses in the upper part of the parish of São Roque, in Funchal, in a situation of high temperatures, low humidity and strong winds, conscious of what he was doing.
The accused was sentenced to 12 years for the crime of causing the forest fire and three years for the crime of gross negligent homicide. He will serve a sentence of 14 years.
It was also understood that the accused did not act to cause the deaths, but his negligence leading to the deaths was considered by the court sufficient for gross negligence, which “covers the other deaths,” explained the judge.
The group of judges sent to the civil court the resolution of damages that exceed 100 thousand euros.
The man, who on August 10, 2016, in the first judicial interrogation, began by confessing to have set fire, claiming to be under the influence of alcohol.
The defendant is suspected of having set fire to a forest area that, due to weather conditions – high temperatures (37 degrees Celsius), dry weather and strong winds (70 degrees Celsius) on August 8 in the parish of São Roque near Funchal. Kilometers) – has spread to a large area of the county.
The next day, fire struck areas in central Funchal and three women died in their homes.
This fire caused hundreds of displaced persons and material losses evaluated in 157 million euros by the Regional Government of Madeira.