Manuel DELGADO Villegas


Manuel DELGADO Villegas

A.K.A.: "El Arropiero"

Classification: Serial killer
Characteristics: Robberies - Rape - Necrophilia
Number of victims: 8 - 48
Date of murders: 1964 - 1971
Date of birth: January 25, 1943
Victims profile: Men and women
Method of murder: Strangulation - Beating
Location: Spain / Italy / France
Status: He was never brought to trial, as he was diagnosed with a severe mental disorder. Preventively detained at Psychiatric Hospital in 1978. Died on February 2, 1998

Manuel Delgado Villegas (25 January 1943 – 2 February 1998), also known as El Arropiero, was a Spanish serial killer active between 1964 and 1971.

Delgado claimed to have carried out 48 murders in Spain, Italy and France - of these cases the Spanish police were only able to investigate twenty-two and charged him with eight. He was never brought to trial, as he was diagnosed with a severe mental disorder, and in 1978 the Audiencia Nacional ordered that he be preventively detained at Carabanchel Penitentiary Psychiatric Hospital. He was released into the care of a psychiatric hospital in 1998 and died soon after of a smoking-related lung disease.

Early life

Manuel Delgado Villegas was born in Seville, Spain on January 25, 1943, the son of José Delgado Martín. His mother died during childbirth and the itinerant nature of his father's job as a salesman meant that he and his sister Joaquina were sent to live with their maternal grandmother in Mataró, Catalonia. Delgado and his sister lived with their grandmother in the predominently Andalusian neighbourhood of La Cirera. He attended school but never learned to read and write.

In 1961, at age of 18, Delgado enlisted in the Spanish Legion; There he learnt hand-to-hand combat techniques, and one in particular - one of his preferred methods of killing - the golpe legionario or golpe mortal (literally "death blow"), a strike to the larynx with the knife-edge of the hand.


Following the disappearance of Antonia "Toñi" Rodríguez Relinque, a 38 year-old mentally retarded woman who had been seen on various occasions in the company of Delgado, the police accompanied Delgado to El Puerto de Santa María police station where he was questioned by Cadiz's Brigada de Investigación Criminal (Criminal Investigation Division) over the disappearance of the person who they now knew to be his girlfriend. He had initially denied killing her, but following the discovery of her body in a secluded spot known as Pago Galvecito, on the outskirts of El Puerto de Santa María, on February 21, 1971 he confessed to her murder - Delgado confessed that had strangled the woman with her own tights whilst having sex.

The local newspaper, the Diario de Cádiz, dubbed him El estrangulador del puerto (The Puerto strangler). Over the next few days he admitted his culpability in the murders of four others.

At the time of his arrest it was widely reported that he was diagnosed as having XYY syndrome which led to claims that this may have been responsible for his violent behaviour. However, the link between XYY syndrome and violent behaviour has been disproven by modern studies of the condition.

In the process of investigating the veracity of his claims the investigating magistrate of El Puerto de Santa María, Conrado Gallardo Ros, along with detectives involved in the cases, accompanied Delgado to the scenes of the crimes where he re-enacted and explained the crimes. On a side note, he became the first serial killer to travel the scenes of his crimes by airplane.


Manuel Delgado Villegas died on February 2, 1998 at the Hospital Can Ruti in Badalona as a result of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.


Adolfo Folch Muntaner (January 21, 1964) - A 49 year-old chef. He was killed on a beach in Llorac as he slept.

"I saw a sleeping man leant against a wall. I approached him and very slowly, with a large rock that I had picked up close to the wall, hit him over the head. When I realised that he was dead, I took his wallet and the watch on his wrist. He had barely anything in it and the watch was crap!

—Manuel Delgado Villegas

Margaret Hélène Thelese Boudrie (June 20, 1967) - A 21 year-old French student from Lyon. She was staying at Can Plana, a holiday home five kilometres from Ibiza, along with a friend.

Venancio Hernández Carrasco (July 20, 1968) - A 71 year-old man. Hernández was tending to his vineyards by the banks of the Tajuña River in the town Chinchón when he was approached by Delgado. Delgado asked him for some food, to which Hernández replied that he was young and that if he wanted to eat that he had to work. This comment cost him his life. His body was found floating in the river near the San Galindo dam. The police initially reported it as an accidental drowning.

Ramón Estrada Saldrich (April 5, 1969) - Killed in Barcelona.

Anastasia Borrella Moreno (November 23, - 1969) - Killed in Mataró.

Francisco Marín Ramírez (December 3, 1970) - A 28 year-old electrician for Renfe. He was a friend of Delgado. Delgado claimed that he had killed Marín after he had made sexual advances towards him. His body was found by a fisherman on December 12, floating in the Guadalete river, underneath the San Alejandro bridge in El Puerto de Santa María.

Antonia Rodríguez Relinque (January 18, 1971) - A 38 year-old woman. Delgado's girlfriend killed in El Puerto de Santa María.

Manuel Delgado Villegas, "El Arropiero"

Manuel Delgado Villegas

Manuel Delgado Villegas

Manuel Delgado Villegas

Manuel Delgado Villegas

Manuel Delgado Villegas

Manuel Delgado Villegas

Manuel Delgado Villegas

Manuel Delgado Villegas

Manuel Delgado Villegas

Manuel Delgado Villegas

Manuel Delgado Villegas

Manuel Delgado Villegas

Manuel Delgado Villegas