Girl accused of lies over attack

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The Independent Online
An English tourist allegedly attacked by five British soldiers in Cyprus broke down in tears yesterday when a defence lawyer said her "lies" could send an innocent man to prison.

Tassos Katsikides, defending one of the soldiers, Roger Bell, called Claire Harbour a liar on at least 10 occasions in cross-examination in a Cypriot court.

The five soldiers are charged with causing grievous bodily harm and actual bodily harm to Ms Harbour and two other English holidaymakers. They all deny the charges.

Mr Tatsikides said Ms Harbour, 22, started the incident outside an Ayia Napa disco earlier this month which left her boyfriend, Barry Ford, with cracked ribs, a broken wrist and a face wound, and Shane Bell with a fractured jaw.

Ms Harbour, of Lee Green, south-east London, burst into tears when Mr Katsikides claimed his client was the real victim. He said: "I put it to you that the accused was assaulted by you and Barry Ford, especially Barry who was out of control."

Ms Harbour said: "I was pulled by my hair while Barry was kicked and punched." But Mr Katsikides said Ms Harbour, a nursery nurse, was only worried about the pounds 25,000 damages she is claiming as damages. Ms Harbour denied this. Mr Ford, a quantity surveyor, and Mr Bell, a car mechanic, both 23, are claiming similar amounts.

Another English tourist, Sasha Wright, 20, also gave evidence yesterday about the attack, in which her boyfriend Danny Lambert, 23, tried to intervene. She said eight men took it in turns to punch and kick Mr Ford on the floor.

The five accused are Roger Bell, 26, Tim Carter, 27, Steven Wolstencroft, 26, Steven Girvan, 20, and Stuart Spencer, 20, all from the 1st Battalion King's Regiment stationed at Dhekelia Garrison in Larnaca. The trial continues today.