Town Hall replaces monument with olive tree and plaque on 14th anniversary of killing

The memory of young girl Shila Bigdely is still alive in Orihuela Costa. Monday was the 14th anniversary of her murder at the hands of a fellow pupil at her school, who also sexually assaulted her. The crime shocked the local community and much of Spanish society in April 2004, when she was only 14 years old.

Her name hit the headlines again in February because the Town Hall controversially removed the monument in her memory which was set up in the park in Playa Flamenca where she was killed. It was a 1.5 metre high piece similar to a grave stone with a white marble cross on top and photo of the girl.

The Town Hall considered it was “inappropriate” in a park frequented by children, explained Councillor Juan Ignacio López-Bas, and did not meet safety requirements for playgrounds as it had “unsafe parts and edges”.

The decision divided residents, some of whom were in favour while others opposed removing the monument in Shila’s memory.

On Monday the Town Hall finally replaced the monument, with an olive tree and a plaque with the girl’s name. López-Bas explained he had contacted the girl’s father in the country where he now lives to explain the decision, and insisted the Town Hall had responded to residents’ requests and respected the girl’s memory.