The Tenerife justice system 'quirk' which left a family desperate for justice

Ed moved to Tenerife after falling in love with the Spanish island while on holiday in 2020
Ed moved to Tenerife after falling in love with the Spanish island while on holiday in 2020 -Credit:Facebook

Authorities in Tenerife "hampered' a coroner's investigation into the killing of a British man knifed to death, and inquest held earlier this week heard.

Andrew Walch, known as Ed, had moved out to Tenerife after falling in love with the Spanish island during a summer holiday. On Monday (May 13), Preston Coroner's Court heard how the 31-year-old was stabbed to death by fellow expat Jimmi Nicol in the early hours of May 6, 2021

Although Nicol, along with several other people, was arrested on suspicion of manslaughter he has never been charged with any offence relating to Ed's death.


After Ed's body was repatriated to his hometown of Preston, a coronial investigation into his death was launched. The final inquest heard that the lengthy delay in concluding the investigation was due to the Spanish authorities.

At the outset of Monday's inquest, Area Coroner Kate Bisset said: "In this case we have been hampered by the authorities of the country in which Andrew sadly died so my investigation has been much more limited. I have no legal power to get those people here so I am sorry I can't get them before us."

Under UK coronial law, an inquest can only take place once a body is repatriated, and unlike with witnesses within our own jurisdiction, those abroad cannot be legally compelled to give evidence.

Two pathologists in Spain provided evidence to show that Ed's injuries were "offensive and not defensive".

In statements provided to the coroner, Spanish police revealed that Nicol had admitted stabbing Ed. The court heard it had been suggested there was an attempted robbery at the apartment prior to the night Ed was killed, and as a result Nicol said he had been acting in self-defence.

The judge dismissed this claim. but it was this judge who later suspended any potential trial.

It is unclear to UK authorities why this decision was made. The only way a prosecution can be restarted in Spain would be if Ed's family paid for it.

Police reports also revealed that after stabbing Ed, Nicol had taken a shower to wash away the blood, and when officers arrived three men were witnessed outside the flat with one carrying a mop and bucket.

Ed was found lying in a pool of blood outside; having been moved from inside the flat at the Island Village complex, close to Tenerife's tourist hotspot Playa de las Americas.

The judge in Tenerife later stayed the prosecution against Nicol due to "quirks" in the Spanish legal system regarding his argument of self-defence. The coroner, a legally qualified criminal barrister herself, said: "Although it seems unbelievable it cannot be rejected... in this country that would have been put before a jury."

The coroner admitted on Monday that even she was "amazed" that Nicol had not faced a trial accused of killing Ed. "We will probably never know exactly what happened," she said.

"There are an awful lot of things that don't make sense. What most reasonable people wouldn't do is shower, wash the blood off themselves and throw away the knife. But because of the quirks of the Spanish justice system that prosecution was stayed."

At the end of Monday's inquest Area Coroner Kate Bisset returned a narrative conclusion. Coronial law dictates that in order for an unlawful killing conclusion to be returned if a case for murder or manslaughter has been made out which would require a coroner to consider the foreign country's legal tests for such offences.