The court of Leiria this Wednesday in the trial in the auditorium of Batalha sentenced Sandro and Márcia Bernardo to 25 years and 18 years and nine months in prison, respectively, for the qualified murder of Valentina, the nine-year-old girl who died on May 10, 2020 found dead in a eucalyptus tree in the Peniche region. The father and stepmother were also convicted of the crimes of desecrating a corpse, abusing a body, and simulating signs of danger. Sandro was also convicted of domestic violence.
The jury proved all the facts of the charge and found that the defendants acted with ultimate intent, Sandro by act and Márcia by omission. In other words, it was natural that Valentina was beaten with a lot of violence by her father and died as a result of “brutal aggression”.
In the latest allegations, the Public Ministry (MP) had called for the maximum 25-year sentence for Valentina’s father and stepmother, arguing that the “level of illegality is extremely high” and that the “way of carrying out the crime is monstrous” .
For the MP, Sandro’s attitude only showed that he was “afraid of being caught” and never “saddened about his daughter’s death”.
The MP argued that Valentina’s father should be convicted of qualified murder, but also of desecrating a corpse. The two defendants, the MP said, should be convicted of abuse and simulating signs of crime. He also demanded that Sandro be convicted of domestic violence – as he claims to have assaulted his daughter a week earlier – and that he be prevented from exercising the parental authority of his other two daughters for 10 years, the maximum allowed by law.
When the prosecutor asked for a 25-year sentence for both of them, they stressed that they had committed the crime, “not just who did it, but whoever allowed it by inaction”. And in this case, if Sandro was the author of the aggression, then Márcia “did nothing” to stop him. It was these circumstances that “let Valentina die,” he claimed.
Forensic doctor Carlos Durão, in charge of Valentina’s autopsy, announced to the jury of the Leiria Court at the last session of the trial that Valentina would have little chance of survival given the severity of the injuries caused by the attacks, according to the MP, inflicted by the father.