Cyprus murder trial nears end as soldiers pass blame

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The Independent Online
The lawyers of the three British soldiers accused of killing a Danish tour guide began their final summing up yesterday as the 16-month trial moved towards its close.

The defence case will be followed by prosecution's, a procedure expected to last until the middle of next week.

The three judges of the Assise Court will then retire to consider their verdicts in what is regarded as a clear-cut case against the soldiers. A verdict is expected in late March.

The three soldiers are accused of killing Louise Jensen, 23, after abducting her in the tourist resort of Ayia Napa with intent to rape her on 12 September 1994.

Private Alan Ford, 27, of Birmingham; Private Justin Fowler, 27, of Falmouth, Cornwall; and Private Jeff Parnell, 24, of Oldbury, West Midlands, all deny the charges.

The three were all based at the British base of Dhekelia, near Ayia Napa on the south coast of the island. They were arrested at a police roadblock 90 minutes after Ms Jensen's Cypriot boyfriend reported her abduction. Prosecution evidence showed that bloodstains on their clothes and in their car came from the victim.

Ms Jensen's battered body, with severe head wounds, was found in a shallow grave near Ayia Napa two days later.

All three defendants have admitted being involved in the kidnapping and being at the scene when Ms Jensen was battered to death with a shovel after being raped. Each has denied striking the fatal blows and tried to blame the others.

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