Man in tears surrenders over Bondi Beach death

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A man will appear in court in Sydney today charged with the murder of Brian Hagland, the Briton attacked by two men near Bondi Beach 10 days ago.

Police charged him after he walked into the police station in the Sydney suburb of Bondi Beach yesterday afternoon.

He arrived at the police station dressed in a dark suit and tie, accompanied by his mother and his solicitor.

The 22-year-old man wept and hugged his mother before entering the police station. Last week, three days after the attack, the man, who lives in the inner-Sydney suburb of Rushcutters Bay, about three miles from Bondi, also visited the police station with his solicitor, Leigh Johnson, but no charges were laid then.

Mr Hagland, 28, was beaten to death in the early hours of 7 September as he walked along a street with his British girlfriend, Connie Casey, 25, after her farewell party at the Australian Trade Commission, where she worked. After the couple's working holiday in Australia, they had planned to become engaged in Tahiti before returning to Britain, where Mr Hagland had been due to resume his job as a Post Office driver in London. Ms Johnson said after her client's arrest: "He maintains his innocence. It was at most a scuffle between two drunk men. He didn't kill anyone." Police also interviewed another man, aged 23, but had laid no charges against him late last night.

Detectives have rejected reports that Mr Hagland might have died as a result of injuries sustained when he and his assailants fell against a slow-moving bus. They said that a second post-mortem examination confirmed that he died from head and internal injuries.

His family is understood to be planning a funeral when his body, accompanied by Ms Casey, returns to Britain.

Residents of Bondi Beach held a public meeting on Sunday to protest about the increasing violence at weekends in what had been one of Sydney's most peaceful areas. Police have increased patrols there since Mr Hagland's death.