“Sandro Bernardo will make statements, because he did not have the opportunity to defend himself in an investigation. He is sorry.” This information is advanced to Renaissance by the defense lawyer of Valentina’s father, the nine-year-old girl found in May 2020 dead in an eucalyptus zone of Serra D’El Rei, in Peniche.
Her father (Sandro Bernardo) and stepmother (Márcia Monteiro) are accused of killing the child and will sit on the dock this Wednesday to answer in the Leiria Court for crimes of qualified homicide, concealment and desecration of corpse, simulation of danger signs and domestic violence.
The lawyer Roberto Rosendo guarantees that “he did not premeditate, something went wrong”, remembering that the accused is not a violent person and had an organized life with plans to emigrate to Belgium.
How and why did the attacks start?
It all started on May 1, 2020 when Sandro Bernardo, 33 years old, Valentina’s father, in the kitchen at home “confronted his daughter with the circumstance that it came to her knowledge that she had maintained sexual contacts with schoolmates insisting that he admit such facts “. At that time, threats were made to the nine-year-old child with a wooden spoon, a situation that was witnessed by the defendant Márcia Monteiro. The accusation also says that” when Valentina admitted those facts, the defendant gave him several spankings. ”The child later reported alleged abuse by his godfather.
The Public Ministry concluded that days later, on May 6, the pressure for Valentina to speak returned. The father took the victim to the bathtub and “knowing that his daughter did not like it and was afraid of hot water, he told the youngest girl that she would wet it with boiling water if she did not tell him everything, namely the nature of sexual acts”, it ended up happening.
Violent aggressions followed the youngest who suffered an internal hemorrhage in the skull. All of this, according to the prosecution, was witnessed by the defendant Márcia “without doing anything to prevent it”.
The assaults will have continued despite her daughter’s “screams and pleas”. Valentina was removed from the bathroom “fainting and having seizures” that would have lasted seven to eight minutes, at which time the defendants realized that she could die. “Instead of promoting assistance to the child, as they could and should call the emergency number 112, transporting her to the hospital or looking for a neighbor, defendant Sandro with the agreement and in conjunction with efforts with defendant Márcia, took the Valentina on her lap and laid her on the sofa in the living room ”.
The Public Prosecutor’s Office writes in the indictment that the defendants “left the child on her sofa for several hours, realizing the seriousness of Valentina’s condition”, but continued “to do her daily life without paying any attention to her. help or assistance ”. Leaving Valentina at home, the couple went to the laundry room, where they put laundry, a fuel pump and the pharmacy.
The girl was, according to prosecutors and the Judiciary Police, left “inanimate and in agony” having “around mid-afternoon”, on May 6, died. The stepmother “went with her to check if she was still breathing, then they went to get a blanket and the defendant covered the smallest one”. The Public Prosecutor also writes that “the two defendants, according to what they agreed on, went to check the place where they planned to hide Valentina, a wilderness forest area”. At night, defendant Sandro “deposited the corpse next to some heathers, covering it with bushes and a small pine tree that left on the spot”.
Her father and stepmother “agreed that the next day, Valentina’s false disappearance would be reported to the police authorities”, which happened on May 7 at around 10:30 am, warning that about a year ago the girl had left home alone.
The investigation says it has no doubt that the stepmother collaborated with the father. Both risk the maximum sentence of 25 years in prison.
The autopsy report was instrumental in concluding that there were serious assaults and strong suspicions of crime.
Father accused of murder but not sexual abuse
In November of last year, the father and stepmother were formally accused of qualified homicide, desecration of a corpse and simulation of danger signs. The minor’s father is still accused of domestic violence.
In preventive detention since May, Sandro Bernardo, 33, Valentina’s father, and Márcia Monteiro, 39, her stepmother, are accused of having murdered the child in the house where they lived, in Atouguia da Baleia, Peniche.
The crime of sexual abuse was excluded by the Public Prosecutor’s Office, which in the prosecution underlines: “the evidence collected in the investigation does not result in any evidence of the commission of such an offense, since the autopsy report does not show the existence of any sign of contact / sexual abuse on the victim and none of the testimonies collected confirm them ”.
Sandro Bernardo has already had to receive hospital assistance twice, once for ingesting bleach and detergents in prison. What the Renaissance found was also infected with Covid-19, but it will no longer be positive.
During the investigation phase, both defendants made statements for several hours before the investigating judge. In trial Sandro Bernardo promises to tell everything.
A Renaissance tried to contact the defense of Márcia Monteiro, without success. It is not known whether she also intends to speak again.
The Public Prosecutor’s Office asks for a civil compensation of 1,786 euros for the expenses that the rescue and police forces had in the search to find Valentina.
“120 GNR military personnel from different Territorial Posts and Detachments and GNR Intervention Units participated in the search operations, GNR kinotechnical teams with 38 canines, 12 means of visualization using drones and 48 vehicles. All of these means had a total cost of 1785.98 euros borne by GNR. ”
Source: Renascença – Noticias by rr.sapo.pt.
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