Cyprus killing soldiers get life

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The three British soldiers found guilty of sexually assaulting and killing a young Danish woman working as a tour guide in Cyprus, were sentenced to life imprisonment yesterday.

Justin Fowler, 28, Allan Ford, 27, and Geoff Pernell, 23, all Royal Green Jackets, bundled Louise Jensen, 23, into their car in September 1994, and took her to a remote spot where they attempted to rape her before bludgeoning her to death with a spade.

The attack was the horrific culmination of a drunken binge at a nearby resort, and Ms Jensen was so disfigured that she had to be identified through dental records.

Sentencing the men to a further five years for abduction and another five years for conspiracy to rape, the court president, Takis Eliades, told them they were responsible for one of the most brutal crimes the island had ever known. He said: "The tragic victim, alone and unprotected, had no possibility of defending herself."

Poul Jensen, the dead woman's father, said afterwards: "This was the best sentence we could have hoped for."

The soldiers were automatically discharged from the force at the moment of sentencing. They have not received wages for months, but they have been paid an allowance and the Ministry of Defence will pay their legal fees, which are expected to exceed pounds 100,000.

Brigadier Arthur Denaro, Deputy Commander of British forces in Cyprus, said: "We can try and take a number of lessons - clearly, education of troops, closer supervision, a tighter chain of command.

"But nevertheless we must not get this incident out of perspective. Horrible though it was, one would hope it was one in many millions."