August 15, 2020

the Francoist torturer who has died with his medals and without being judged

“Do you know who I am? ‘Billy the Kid.” Inspector Antonio González Pacheco enjoyed his job, according to the victims: arresting and torturing. The Francoist police had command in the dungeons of the Puerta del Sol in Madrid, and did not hesitate to apply various techniques of punishment during their interrogations. He wanted to scare his detainees. To be the benchmark for the repression of Francoism. All that terror is reflected in nine complaints of victims of their torture. Some have already been filed because crimes have prescribed.

Antonio González Pacheco, alias ‘Billy el Niño’, was born on October 10, 1946 in Aldea del Cano (Cáceres). He liked his nickname. It has been the most visible face of the Social Political Brigade (BPS) and the repressive apparatus of the last years of the Franco Franco dictatorship.

This Thursday her death from the coronavirus has been known and kidney ailments, in a Madrid clinic. ‘Billy the Boy’ has died without being judged and keeping the medals he received for his career during the Franco regime, plagued by torture.

During his life he had a goal: to dress a black legend, a tough guy, without scruples on his figure. He sought to be on the lips of members of anti-Franco organizations, who knew him and knew what he is capable of. That they were afraid of him. So he put his face close to the inmates and said, “Do you know who I am? Billy the Kid.”

The policeman built for himself, during his career, the profile of a tough and unpredictable agent who turned the dungeons of the General Directorate of Security (DGS) into a hellish trap for anti-dictatorship activists. For his “merits” accumulated in years of service, he received several pensioned medals that remained in his possession until the day of his death.

Profile of a torturer

Antonio González Pacheco lived in Madrid, in the same neighborhood as some of his victims. Obsessed with his safety, he carefully calculated each exit to the street. A taxi at the door, peeking from behind the curtains from first-floor windows. And a fleeting race from the portal to the open door of the vehicle.

A fan of athletics, Billy the Kid went on to run marathons like those in Madrid or New York. In one of these competitions he was identified and the photograph of the Francoist torturer with a cap, sportswear, a gesture suffered and a bib number 4191 went around the country.

Two citizens join the complaints told Billy the Kid for torture

Billy the Kid at the National Court.


As a Francoist police, he became number two in the BPS under the command of Commissioner Roberto Conesa (involved in the repression after the civil war and in charge of the anti-terrorist fight against ETA and the GRAPOs). He quickly gained fame for the beatings with which he subjected those arrested.

Since 1977 he was inspector of the Superior Police Corps. He was integrated into the Central Information Brigade, the secret police that replaced the Political Social Brigade. In 1981, he accused a transfer to the General Judicial Police Station and left the service a year later to go to work as head of security in private companies.

Money for arrests and torture

González Pacheco was related to the murder of Enrique Ruano, a law student and a member of the Popular Liberation Front. Ruano died in the custody of the Francoist secret police. On January 20, 1969 he fell from a seventh floor. The dictatorship sold the event as a suicide, in a strategy in which the minister Manuel Fraga participates. The anti-Franco movement considers it a political crime and the outrage in Spanish universities catches fire.

Even a judge convicted Billy the Kid in 1974 for “ill-treatment” to the journalist Paco Lobatón. The sentence was one day without a job and salary.

Billy the Kid went on to collect special cash prizes for his performances. Like the “disarticulation of the FRAP propaganda apparatus”, 20,000 pesetas in 75. And “arrest of a Communist Party militant”, 6,000 pesetas in 76.

And pensioned medals

Billy the Kid got five medals who increased their pension by 50%. The Francoist police accused of torture accumulated decorations in the dictatorship and also in democracy, according to the report requested on the case by the Interior Minister, Fernando Grande-Marlaska.

She received the first red badge medal from the Franco Government in 1972. She was a pensioner with a 10% increase in salary. The next prize is the Silver Medal for Police Merit awarded by Minister Rodolfo Martín Villa in 1977, increasing his pension by 15%.

Retired policeman Billy el Niño, at a party in a police station in Madrid.

Retired policeman Billy el Niño, at a party in a Madrid police station. / Madrid

In 1980 he obtained another one, with the same characteristics. And in 1982 he received the Gold Medal, which was a plus of 20% in his attribution. González Pacheco judicially claimed the economic benefits associated with this award because he did not collect them. Justice recognized this right in 2010. Finally, the Francoist policeman was awarded in 1977 with the Cross of Military Merit with a White Badge. This last military medal was not publicly known until november 2019.

The Government of Spain commissioned this report through the Interior to study the withdrawal of these pensioned decorations. It is the “intention” of the Executive of Pedro Sánchez to finalize these awards and privileges. Grande-Marlaska, understands that this type of decorations are a manifestation of exemplary and exceptional behavior towards society that, “today”, believes that “does not exist” in the case of Billy the Child.

In February 2020, Congress gave the go-ahead at the request of the Deputy EH Bildu Jon Iñárritu to declassify the medals, decorations and prizes awarded to Antonio González Pacheco. The declassification implied the publication of the service sheet of ‘Billy the Child’, to which he had accessed in December 2018. A file that had been secret until then and that revealed that the State gratified with public acknowledgments and cash prizes the arrest and repression of students and communists.

The document consisted of three folios that included the actions of this Francoist agent between 1969 and 1977. The document included 18 public congratulations for communist and student repression, as well as cash “prizes” for the repression of the anti-Franco movements.


The Francoist police were accused of torture continued in the cells of the General Security Directorate in Madrid. He acted with extreme violence, according to his victims. He used punishment techniques such as hanging the detainee on a bar to provoke a position of extreme vulnerability and rehearsed movements copied from the martial arts.

One of the tortures was the ‘corridor’: the detainee passed between two rows of police officers who beat with batons, gags, American fists, kicks and punches. Or the ‘repasito’: giving heavy blows, without leaving marks on the body, with phone books and rubber batons, a tactic used between interrogations.

The ‘bathtub’ consisted of introducing the head into “extremely dirty and nauseating” waters until the practical drowning of the detainee. When the victim becomes unconscious, he feels that he is going to die.

Billy el Niño greets after testifying at the National Court on April 10, 2014. / Álvaro Minguito / DISO Press

Billy el Niño greets after testifying at the National Court on April 10, 2014. / Álvaro Minguito / DISO Press

Billy el Niño named the punches and repeated kicks in the body of his victims that he unloaded with movements and screams copied from karate as the ‘punching bag’. He “loved” giving these beatings pronouncing the names of the techniques used to show their expertise in the matter, according to the account of the victims, some of whom have been collected in complaints.

They also talk about the technique of hanging a bar: handcuffed by the wrist in front of the ankles, the detainee was suspended by the knee joint. The posture exposed the buttocks, genitals and soles of the feet to be hit. It was one of the practices most used by BPS officers due to the extreme position of vulnerability and the null possibility of defense. In addition to the intense pain, this torture caused abundant bleeding and the presence of blood and clots in the urine for months.

Psychological violence and humiliation of the detainee were a constant. With threats, coercion indicating possible harm to family and colleagues, or stripping clothing to keep the victim naked. And the isolation, the incessant interrogations and the weakening, denying food or water for days.

Linked to Villarejo during democracy

Already in the years of democracy, ‘Billy el Niño’ was linked to the Villarejo case. As reported Pedro Águeda, González Pachezo’s security company billed nearly 700,000 euros Between 2010 and 2016, during a period in which Chief Inspector Constancio Riaño was assigned to the General Information Police Station. Riaño is accused in the Villarejo case, accused of delivering confidential information to Villarejo, with which the commissioner made dossiers that he later sold.

Service of Prevention of Attacks and Kidnappings (SPAS S.L), the company of González Pacheco, worked as a security consultant, and was in operation for two decades. His end of activity coincides precisely with the year that Riaño retired.

González Pacheco also benefited from his ‘friendship’ with Riaño by obtaining inside information from him. Riaño himself testified before the judge last September that he had given license plate and telephone data to his “friend” Billy the Kid. His justification: that the Francoist police felt “threatened”, that he could not go to the Police for the “loss of prestige” to which the media had condemned him and that the information provided was not exactly confidential.


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