Tuesday 26 September 2017

Suspect in plot to kill king caught hiding in UK

James Orr and Fiona Govan in Madrid

A suspected ETA commando wanted for attempting to assassinate the King of Spain has been living in Britain for several years under the false identity of an information technology worker named "Cyril".

Eneko Gogeaskoetxea Arronategui (44) was arrested by armed counter-terrorism officers yesterday morning following a raid on his home on a quiet, suburban housing estate on the outskirts of Cambridge.

Neighbours said the father-of-two went by the name Cyril Macq. They described the computer support worker, who is believed to have led an elite commando unit of the Basque separatist group, as a "regular dad" who had been secretary of the local squash club.

Alexander Stewart (18) who witnessed the early morning raid, said: "He was on his bike on his way to work. The police had guns and pointed at him and shouted 'get down'. Then they pulled him into a car and took him away. He was a really polite man and his wife was just lovely."

Officers acting on a European Arrest Warrant swooped on the three-bedroom terraced property on the Arbury estate.

Council records indicate that Mr Gogeaskoetxea had lived there with a woman called Maria Chaprillero, who is thought to be his wife, for several years. They were often seen walking their two young children to school.

Mr Gogeaskoetxea, one of Spain's most wanted terrorists, had been on the run since October 1997 after being accused of plotting to plant a bomb at the Guggenheim museum in Bilbao before the inaugural visit by King Juan Carlos.

The attack was foiled, but in the ensuing fight one policemen was shot and killed. ETA later claimed responsibility for the attack.

Steve Casey, the chairman of the Cambridge Squash Club, identified Mr Gogeaskoetxea as the club's secretary and said police had confiscated two computers that the Spaniard used.

Staggered

"Cyril has been a member of our squash club for six years and secretary for six months," said Mr Casey. "He's a great guy and a great secretary. I'm blown away by the news -- I'm really staggered. He never spoke about politics, he was just a great squash player."

Mr Gogeaskoetxea appeared at Westminster Magistrates Court yesterday afternoon.

Flanked by three security guards with two more positioned at the doors of the court, he was asked if he consented to an extradition request and he replied in English: "I do not".

He did not apply for bail and was told that he will next appear in court by video link on July 25.

(© Daily Telegraph, London)

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