This new Netflix true crime film tells the story of a murdered teenage girl in a Spanish tourist spot, Costa Del Sol, and the controversial false conviction that came from it.
So many of us are drawn to the dark allure of true crime documentaries – it’s an odd thing to watch hours of TV centred around very disturbing IRL criminal behaviour, but we can’t help it.
Netflix is the gatekeeper of much of this genre, from Making A Murderer to Conversations With A Killer: The Ted Bundy Tapes. It’s bringing out a new and intriguing offering – and this time, in the form of a film – a truly tragic and compelling true story from the shores of the Mediterranean.
Documentary film Murder By The Coast is the first of its kind to address the Wanninkhof-Carabantes case – in which a family friend of a teenage girl is wrongfully accused of her brutal murder – and will consist of interviews and new research uncovered in the intervening 20 years.
Here’s exactly what to expect from the upcoming film.
What’s Murder by the Coast about?
It follows the aftermath of the murder of teenage girl Rocío Wanninkhof in 1999 – she was found stabbed to death three weeks after she went missing. Shortly after, a family friend – and Rocío’s mother’s ex-partner – Maria Dolores Vázquez was found guilty and imprisoned even though there was no physical evidence to place her at the crime scene.
These events shook the Spanish and British expat communities in the Costa Del Sol, but this was only the beginning of the saga. Four years later, police returned to the case after finding DNA from Rocío’s murder at the scene of a different girl’s murder (Sonia Carabantes).
The documentary looks at how this gross injustice occurred, as well as who the culprit of both crimes was.
Is there a trailer for Murder by the Coast?
Yes, there is, see below for a taster of what’s to come.
What does the documentary consist of?
A lot of work went into analysing what happened – the team behind the documentary spent 2 years putting it together, conducting 50 hours of interviews with over 60 people involved with the case.
They’ve also pulled together Spanish and British media coverage of the case from the 1990s and afterwards, and used Spanish politician and activist Beatriz Gimeno’s book La Construcción de la Lesbiana Perversa (The Construction of the Perverse Lesbian) to construct a theory around Vázquez’s conviction.
Viewed as one of the biggest injustices in Spanish legal history, Murder By The Coast is set to look at all possible angles when analysing what unfolded 20 years ago and what we can take away from it now. It will look at the role of the judicial, the police, the political implications, how the media and what can be said about the role of gender and the wider sociological context at the time.
It looks to be a difficult – but compelling and important – watch.
When and where will it be available to watch?
Murder by the Coast is coming to Netflix on 23 June.