I juli 2014 avled Catrine da Costas portugisiske make J da Costa i Schweiz i sviterna av lungcancer. da Costa-arkivet har talat med Andréa de Gonzales*, en tidigare partner till J da Costa och moder till hans yngsta son. Catrine da Costa träffade J da Costa 1979 och reste ofta till Portugal under 1980-talet, i intervjun får vi för första gången veta lite mer om deras liv tillsammans.
Intervjun publiceras i sin ursprungsform, dvs på engelska.
”How and where did Catrine and JdC meet?”
Andréa: J met Catrine in Coimbra and fell in love ever since. He went to Sweden later to her, but was arrested for carrying drugs (hashish and marijuana). During the period in which he was arrested she was always seeing him in prison and I remember he told me that she prostituted herself at that time. After some time in jail (I think almost 3 years) he returned to Portugal and shortly after she came to him. J’s family liked her very much and received her very well. My mother-in-law said she was sweet, cheerful and polite.
Then she went pregnant, but did not let go of the drugs. J told me he had terrible arguments with her on this subject. She returned to Sweden where she had his little boy and shortly afterwards came with her baby to live in Portugal.
The photos I mentioned were taken at that time, in the summer of 81, with K on the lap of his mother and father, traveling the south of Portugal in a van they used as a camper. The pictures showed a happy family smiling. A very beautiful baby with curly hair was smiling all the time.
J told me that they decided to stay in Tortosendo, (a little village in the countryside near Serra da Estrela) in the house of some friends, where they could settle down and lead a more orderly life,but that dream ended because one day he entered the room and she had just injected with heroin. He was very very angry with her. After a few more heavy episodes because of hard drugs the relationship went down. Once he had to get her to the Embassy of Sweden in Lisbon because she was trapped into prostitution in the Sodre pier streets. I think it was from this episode that she went to sleep in the van and he, K and grandparents indoors at their home in Coimbra.
At one point they decided that she had to go to Sweden for treatment of her addiction and take the baby with her. J thought it would be a last attempt. He thought that by taking their young son with her would be a great reason for her to stop with heroin. And it was agreed between them that she would return as soon as she could to live a normal life. But things did not go well unfortunately.
When I met J at the beginning of 84 he told me he was married to Catrine but did not intend to get back together with her, it was all over (by the time the Swedish social security removed K’s mother custody) and he was furious with what had happened. He could not go back to Sweden because he would be arrested again and because he was forbidden to go back after his arrest years before. So he could do nothing.
”Did you ever meet Catrine?”
Andréa: I never met Catrine in person, only by photos and through things J told me. I’m sure he liked her very much. There were records and cassettes with songs that thrilled him because they reminded him of Catrine’s way of living. I remember every time we hear Street Life by Randy Crawford and Lyin ‘Eyes by The Eagles he say: this is Catrine. Catrine is in these lyrics.
”Did J ever try to help Catrine?”
Andréa: Yes, J tried to do his best to rehab Catrine. I know that he was also addicted, but he fought hard to get out of this destructive addiction. When we separated and he decided to live in Switzerland I found his attitude very brave. He was alone and managed to stabilize his life away from drugs and working. I visited him a few times in Lausanne with our son (K’s brother) and spent a lot of funny moments.
Yet he had a deep wound which he never spoke of neither complained because he wanted to provide to others a beautiful smile and a lot of humor, but I know that inside of him there was that sadness about what had happened with Catrine and that has never been surpassed. He remade his life with another woman during the last years of his life until July 2014 when he died. He died from lung cancer and suffered a lot.
”Did J ever talk about Catrine after the murder?”
Andréa: Yes, J always spoke of what happened to Catrine. On the day we received the sad news we were together and he sobbed uncontrollably. Despite being separated he felt very sad about the way Catrine’s life took. He never forgot her.
He told me by the time that the last phone call he received from her it was very depressing. She cried a lot and told him that ”soon I will be your ex-wife.” He thought she was referring to the divorce, but after what happened he often asked himself if she knew what was going to happen with her. She also told J that the rehabilitation center where she was at the time had a doctor who was chasing her too much, but J thought it was an affair that they might be having. These were the most concrete things he told me.
He often talked about Catrine, but about the situations that the two had lived in when she was in Portugal. The amount of luggage she left at J’s home, it seemed to me that she had plans to return to Portugal. We donated her clothes and belongings to charity and we sent her wedding photo album to Catrine’s mother
My father -in-law traveled to Sweden a few years after when K’s adoptive family wanted to remove the nickname Da Costa. He hired a Swedish lawyer but got nothing. For all practical purposes the little boy was with this family and they wanted to rectify the situation.
”Catrines connection to Portugal was very important to the investigation, J’s mother said that Catrine had called to Portugal at some point in June 1984, but the police never checked the exact date. It’s been years now, but it is very important for us to know when this phonecall was made, to determine when Catrine was last heard of alive.”
Andréa: It is true that Catrine called several times to talk to her, but I do not remember on what date was the last call. I think the last call was the one in which she said ”soon i’ll be your ex-wife” and as far I remember it was in around spring, at the end of spring. J and Catrine’s birthday were at the same day – June 19th and it’s possible that the last call was near that day, but unfortunatly i’m not sure of that.
”Is J’s mother still alive?”
Andréa: J’s mother died 14 years ago and I did not know she had spoken to the police at the time.
”Did newspapers in Portugal write about the case? From what I’ve heard media was not interested.”
Andréa: The news in Portugal gave no relief to what happened with Catrine. There was a small news in one of major newspapers (I’m so sorry I can not remember what it was) stating that this young woman was married to a Portuguese man… but it was only a paragraph, a few words only. It was J who showed me that.
”Do you remember if Catrine used blue bathing towels, was anything like that found among the clothes she left behind? I ask because a towel of a Irish brand ”Green Hills Fashion” was found next to Catrines remains in July 1984.”
Andréa: I don’t remember any blue towels being among Catrine’s clothes or belongings. She really had left many bags with clothes, shoes, books, personal objects, but no towels like that.
”Like you mentioned, Catrine seems to have had plans to travel to Portugal in the Spring of 1984?”
Andréa: On her possible coming to Portugal in the spring of 84 I remember there were many phone calls because at that point I was often at J’s home with his mother. He answered those phone calls, and discussed a lot with her. He said he did not want her here, that he already had a girlfriend living with him and that their relationship was past. In the last call, J told me just after he had talked to her that she had cried too much and said ”soon I will be your ex-wife”. And that’s the end of their connection. Unfortunately in that late spring we were notified of her terrible death.
Then I had to help J to open the bags and take Catrine’s belongings for charities. It was a very painful process for J who looked at things and ask: what am I going to do with this?
And as I told you we sent Catrine’s mother an ordering post with her wedding dress and her wedding photo album. She was very happy on those photos.
The images I saw on the link you sent me show a different Catrine. When she came to live in Portugal with K she had short hair and was blonde.
I am sorry that so many years later there are things I do not remember precisely and I’m sorry that J died because he could tell you more in detail. Well, I do not know if he was going to do that because after a certain time he did not like talking about this subject. I am sure that he never recovered from Catrine’s brutal death .
”Did J ever re-unite with his and Catrine’s son?”
Andréa: Once I asked him if he would search for K (by that time he was living in Switzerland) and he told me: if he really wants to meet his father he will reach me. I’m sure he wasn’t prepared to find that boy and I felt very sorry for that. For both. He could not take the biggest step of his life to meet his eldest son and I do not know if he could have been supported to do so. I think so, but about this matter I can not nor should mention for being at a stage where we were no longer together. This is the sadest sorry I know. Everyone was lost in their decisions and complicated choices. So sad. I hope they are in peace now.
Stort tack till Andréa som delat med sig av den här gripande historien, det får en att inse att det finns många människoöden och sidor av fallet Catrine da Costa, som kanske inte alltid skildras rättvist i media. Av intervjun kan vi också dra slutsatsen att det idag i praktiken är omöjligt att avgöra när Catrines sista telefonsamtal till Portugal ägde rum. och varifrån hon ringde.