Svetlana Orlova had no idea why she had been invited on to the daytime television show and she was shocked to find herself face to face with the man who had beaten her for years.
She was further stunned when he produced an engagement ring and proposed. Looking deeply uncomfortable, she shook her head.
The public rebuff cost her her life. Within days she had been stabbed to death and her former lover was under arrest for murder.
Now ministers in Spain are to hold crisis talks with broadcasters as the nation searches its soul over its trashy television culture.
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Ricardo Navarro, 30, had told Patricia’s Daily Show, which has an audience of 2 million, that he and Ms Orlova had broken up because of a dispute over money. Ms Orlova contested that, saying: “There were many other things”, but without elaborating or mentioning that she had a restraining order against her former boyfriend.
Undeterred, Mr Navarro went on bended knee and asked her to marry him. “Come back,” he said sounding tearful, as the audience cooed. “You are everything for me.”
Ms Orlova shook her head slightly. “Well Svetlana, say something!” the host exclaimed. “We are all on tenter-hooks. Is that ‘no’, or ‘I don’t know’? Say it clearly.”
Five days later Mr Navarro was arrested after allegedly stabbing Ms Orlova repeatedly in the neck. She died in hospital.
Baldomero Limón of Boomerang, the production company responsible for the programme, said that producers were “devastated”, but denied any responsibility in Ms Orlova’s death, saying that they were also deceived by Mr Navarro. “Nothing made us suspect that a tragedy like this could occur.”
Viewers’ groups have called for the show to be taken off the air.
It is not the first time that a woman has been killed after appearing on Spanish television shows. In 1997, Ana Orantes, 60, was doused with petrol and burnt alive by her husband, José Parejo. Unable to get any help from the authorities, she had gone on a television show to speak of the beatings that she endured at his hands. In November 2004, Andrés Reyes killed his 18-year-old girlfriend after she appeared on a television show to speak about his abuse of her.
The Spanish Government has named the high rate of violence against women in Spain a priority and wants broadcasters to draw up a code of conduct for these programmes. “Domestic violence should not be a television spectacle,” MarÍa Teresa Fernández de la Vega, the Deputy Prime Minister, said.
Sixty-nine women have been killed by their partners this year. Despite government efforts, Spanish judges are accused of being sympathetic to men who are violent towards their partners. Women’s rights groups expressed outrage last week after a judge gave a reduced sentence to Mariano Navas, who stabbed his girlfriend in 2005, citing his “humiliation” on Patricia’s Daily Show as mitigating factor.