A WOMAN who shot dead her husband and cut up his body after he vowed to force her daughter and granddaughter into prostitution has been freed.

Mafalda Secreto, 65, admitted shooting brutal Jose Luis Arena in the face after repeated violence and intimidation, an Argentine court heard.

During their relationship, he forced her to sleep with men for money and had even drugged her so she would lose her respectable job as a dressmaker.

A Buenos Aires courtroom hears that Mafalda snapped when he threatened to do the same to her daughter and her child.

After shooting the 60-year-old drug dealer in the jaw, she hacked off his legs and an arm and hid the body parts in her shed.

Secreto begged her brother for help to hide the body, but he called police, who arrested her for the killing in June 2019.


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But on Monday, a judge ruled Secreto had acted in self-defence as a victim of gender-based violence and declared her not guilty.

Prosecutors had demanded a prison sentence of 18 years, even taking into account the mitigating circumstances.

Secreto – from the Argentine capital – had met Arena online while he was doing time for flogging bootleg tarmac.

The court heard how, after they embarked on a relationship, he subjected her to daily violence, threats and harassment.

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But she never left her partner or reported him to the police because of his powerful links to the drug trade and hear fear of his contacts.

It was only when he threatened her family that she waited for him to go to bed, grabbed one of his guns and shot him in the head, killing him instantly.


1)     Make a change where you are – in your workplace, school, sports club – is there a domestic abuse policy? Is there a poster in the bathroom or in communal spaces on how to get help? Has anyone had domestic abuse training? 

2)    Dispel myths about domestic abuse and challenge sexism – domestic abuse doesn't happen because you provoked the abuser and it isn't your fault if you are being abused by your partner – sexist attitudes to women’s roles and men’s role must be challenged to end domestic abuse.

3)     Take action, your voice counts – join campaigns for better protection for survivors  or fundraise to enable us to make a change. You can put on an event or take part in a challenge. You can also donate to Women's Aid or your local domestic abuse charity 

4)      Learn what to say to someone experiencing abuse Women’s Aid can help with this and help you understand the reasons why it may not be easy to just leave. 

5)     Speak Up – show we are standing up against domestic abuse together. Send us photos and stories about what you are doing in your local area or online to help stop domestic abuse and support survivors. We want to show positive examples of how we can make a difference to encourage others to join with us. 

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