Why was Washington man accused of murder allowed to leave Spain?

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QUESTIONS were today raised as to why a Washington man accused of murder in Tenerife was allowed to fly home without standing trial.

As revealed in the Echo, Andrew Crowther landed back in the North East at the beginning of this month after spending four years in a psychiatric hospital in Tenerife.

The 51-year-old was arrested in August 2007 on the Spanish island after his partner Margaret Manley, 40, was discovered in the apartment they shared in the popular Los Christianos beach resort. She had been strangled to death.

Mr Crowther, originally from Washington, was charged with her murder, which he denied, claiming he could not remember anything.

Despite never standing trial, on July 3 he was flown into Newcastle Airport and is now believed to be under a 28-day assessment order at a North East hospital.

However, it remains unclear what will happen to him at the end of the assessment, since he is not facing any criminal proceedings in this country.

Northumbria Police said their only involvement with Mr Crowther was with his transportation back to the UK.

It can also be revealed that Mr Crowther, a builder by trade, is not currently under the supervision of MAPPA, which manages offenders and dangerous people living in the region, as he is not technically a criminal in this country.

Martin Callanan, MEP for the North East, today said: “It’s extremely concerning that a man accused of murdering someone could be put back on the streets.

“But at the end of the day, if you’ve not committed any offence in the UK then it’s difficult to see what the British authorities can do about it.”

Mr Crowther is understood to be currently be under the care of Northumberland, Tyne and Wear Mental Health Trust and is being treated in a North East Hospital. It is possible that after the assessment he could be referred to MAPPA if he is deemed to be dangerous.

Mr Callanan added: “I would presume the relevant authorities are doing what they can but it is a difficult because if you haven’t committed a crime here in the UK then you can’t be detained for it.

“It’s a very difficult situation but, as I said, is extremely concerning.”

A Northumberland, Tyne and Wear Mental Health Trust spokesman said they were unable to confirm any details on individual cases.

A spokesman for the Foreign Office added: “We were aware when he was arrested at the time and provided assistance to his family but are not involved with anything else.”

Police have been attempting to contact Ms Manley’s next of kin.

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