Justice at last: The Priors receive compensation for illegal demolition in Almeria

A DECADE LATER: The Priors, now in their 70’s,have finally received some compensation

TEN years after their home was illegally demolished,Len and Helen Prior have finally received a payout.

The couple, who are now in their 70’s, were paid a settlement of almost€236,000 by Vera Council a decade after their dream home was demolished.

“Now this is over, we just want to try and recover our lives, we have lost 10 years that no amount of money can replace,” Helen said.

Mrs Prior continued to thank lawyers Victor Martinez and Jose Contreras for their “hard work over the last 10 years,” while also stating that the pay out was “very poor” considering their home originally cost the couple €350,000.

She said: “The house was legal and demolished for political reasons, we were scapegoats.

“I was awarded €1,500 for ‘moral damages’ and my husband €7,500 for 10 years of suffering, ridiculous.

In any other EU country the amount would have been much higher,” she added.

The Priors’ story is one known internationally after their home was bulldozed in 2008 due to ‘planning irregularities.’

Their two-storey Almerian villa was torn down despite the couple insisting that the town hall had granted them a municipal construction licence in 2002, and they were forced to live in a garage for four-and-a-half years.

A Constitutional Court later annulled the demolition order and the couple thought they finally had a breakthrough in 2016, after a court awarded them €425,185 compensation.

But despite their initial request for €800,000 including €200,000 in emotional damages, the Andalucian High Court of Justice later ruled that they should only receive just over half that amount which they have finally been given.

Gerardo Vazquez,lawyer and spokes person for the Abusos Urbanisticos Almanzora No (AUAN)campaign group, said: “Asa spokesperson for AUAN,I am very happy for the Priors.

I hope that you can at least continue with your lives more peacefully.

“With the good humour that has characterised them during the last 10 years their struggle has lasted, they have shown great tenacity and resistance and are an example to all of us.“

I give all my love and admiration to the Priors.”