On February 28, 2002, ETA tried to kill Esther Cabezudo by detonating a bomb hidden in a shopping cart. That day, Cabezudo and her bodyguard decided to walk along the opposite pavement, which saved their lives.  She, Iñaki, her bodyguard and 18 other people were injured in the blast.


Name: Esther Cabezudo.

Age: 65.

Family status: single, no children.


GROUP: Politicians.


-On February 28, 2002, ETA tried to kill Esther Cabezudo by detonating a bomb made of 20 kilograms of Titadyne hidden in a shopping cart that the terrorists placed in one of the streets she usually passed through on her way to work.

-That day, Cabezudo and her bodyguard decided to walk along the opposite pavement, which saved their lives.

-Esther Cabezudo, Iñaki, her bodyguard and 18 other people were injured in the blast.

- On March 18, 2011, the High Court sentenced the perpetrators of the attempted murder of Cabezudo to 377 years imprisonment.


“Until one year before the attack, I was very reluctant to have a bodyguard. Most PP and PSOE councillors had been assigned bodyguards, but I didn’t want one. Then, in 2001, the Aznar’s Government said all council members had to have protection. The decision to accept a bodyguard was like deciding to be or not to be councillor. And I decided to accept the protection because, otherwise, I would not have been able to carry on working in the Portugalete city council. It was with that first bodyguard in 2001 when the attack took place.”

“Until the attack, even though I had protection, I was not afraid to go out into the street or to do what I had to do. I never thought that someone was going to attack me. I’ve always been a person with left-wing ideology; I fought for freedom and democracy in this country. Those who attacked me, kids who were not even thirty years old, who had lived in a democracy their whole lives, don’t know what a dictatorship is… I never thought anybody would try to kill me. But they did. It was terrible for me.”

“The attack changed my life. M routines, my relationships, my family… everything changed. I couldn’t go out when and how I wanted. I had to start leaving the Basque Country to get away from the pressure of this environment and the bodyguards. I suffered physical and psychological effects. Three large pieces of shrapnel were extracted from my body; I have another twenty-two pieces lodged in the right hand side of my body that the doctors, given the depth of the wounds, will only remove if they start bothering me one day. I have also lost 60% of hearing in my right ear and 40% in my left ear. In addition to that, I have a continuous ringing noise in my ears that sometimes even wakes me up at night, plus some episodes of dizziness for which I am in treatment.”

“For my family, this was a terrible shock. My family is very close. We are left-wing people, who fought for freedom and against Franco. I have a brother who was in jail because he was a socialist, and the fact that someone had tried to kill me was a tremendous shock for them. My family, friends and colleagues, even my neighbours, have supported me. This support from my family and my people is what helped me to carry on, to continue with my life.”

“I also received expressions of support from other groups in the Portugalete municipal corporation at the time, support that I acknowledge and appreciate, because they treated me well and proved to be good people. The HB people didn’t condemn the attack, of course. They lowered their heads every time we met. Even today I have a very unpleasant feeling when I meet them in the street.”

“Three months after the bomb attack, I was discharged from hospital and I went back to work. I live in the high part of Portugalete, and I used to walk down to the City Hall. Since the attack, they take me by car. I resumed my duties as deputy mayor, but 4 or 5 months later I had a relapse. I couldn’t work; my blood pressure was very high due to PTSD. I found it very difficult to go down to City Hall because I was afraid or whatever but it was a struggle; my mind couldn’t handle it, I was going through a really bad time.  I had to see psychologists and psychiatrists because I wasn’t well. After that I went back to work, until I had to resign in 2004; I went on sick leave and, finally, I was classified as permanently disabled. I resigned; I resigned as deputy mayor and left my position as a councillor. That public activity was over. I now collaborate with the party’s local branch here in Portugalete.”

“They tried to kill me in February 2002, nine years ago, and it is only now that the terrorists have been tried. I had a very bad time with the trial; I was very nervous and stressed. It’s is a very difficult situation. I was called as a witness, along with the bodyguard who was protecting me at that time and who was also injured. It’s something you have to do; you have to step up and collaborate with the courts to clarify everything, and if I had to do it again, I would, but it’s unpleasant. It’s unpleasant to have to answer the questions they ask you, to relive the attack. It is difficult to listen to the accused – whom I could not see, fortunately, because there was a screen between us – talk and even laugh to each other during the trial. It’s is a very unpleasant situation.”

“Sometimes it’s hard for me to talk about the attack. But everything that happened that day has been engraved in my mind as if it had happened five minutes ago. I remember exactly how we left home; how we walked down the street … it’s all crystal clear.”