Spanish man given 23 years jail for U.S. pilgrim murder

MADRID (Reuters) - A Spanish man was sentenced to 23 years in jail on Tuesday for the murder of U.S. tourist Denise Pikka Thiem as she walked the Camino de Santiago pilgrim route in northwest Spain in 2015.

Miguel Angel Munoz, 41, was found guilty last week of ambushing and killing Thiem, originally from Phoenix, Arizona, who was travelling alone when she disappeared aged 40.

In April 2015, Thiem was diverted from the official route by a sign which directed her towards a house owned by Munoz, who came out and joined her when she passed, according to the sentence issued by the court in the province of Leon.

Munoz dealt Thiem a deadly blow to the head with a blunt object, before dragging her to a secluded place where he cut off her hands, which he buried separately from her body, the court said.

Fearing discovery, he dug up her body the following August. He was arrested in September and led police to Thiem's corpse.

The court also found Munoz had stolen $1,132 which Thiem carried with her for emergencies, adding three years in jail for robbery to the 20 incurred for the killing.

(Reporting by Emma Pinedo; Writing by Isla Binnie; Editing by Angus Berwick and Alison Williams)