Briton held in Crete over girlfriend's death

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The Independent Online

A British man arrested on suspicion of beating his girlfriend to death on the Greek island of Crete was today waiting to discover if he will face trial.

Chelsea Hyndman, 21, died on Monday after suffering ruptured internal organs which doctors said were caused by physical violence.

Boyfriend Luke Walker, 22, who is facing charges of causing fatal bodily injury, told his lawyer he is innocent.

He will appear before a court in Heraklion, the island's capital, for a preliminary hearing tomorrow where it will be decided whether he is to be charged.

Ms Hyndman, from Castleford, West Yorkshire, died a day after she was admitted to hospital in Heraklion suffering from severe abdominal pain.

She was transferred to the Venizelio hospital where she underwent an emergency operation but died in the intensive care unit.

A Greek Police spokeswoman in Athens said: "The doctors who examined the girl told police her internal organs were ruptured.

"This was not due to illness. It was the result of physical violence."

She said the couple were living together in rented rooms in the coastal holiday resort of Malia, and added: "It is said that they often quarrelled."

Lawyer George Koundourakis, who will represent Walker in court, said: "Of course, my client claims to be innocent."

He said he would not comment further on the circumstances of the case.

But he said the hearing in Heraklion at midday tomorrow will establish whether Walker is to be charged and whether he will be allowed bail.

Mr Koundourakis said it would be a closed hearing.

Relatives at the victim's red-brick terrace home in Castleford were too upset to comment last night.

Grieving relatives were being comforted by friends and specially trained family liaison officers who visited the property.

A tribute page set up on Facebook attracted more than 250 members.

Friends of Ms Hyndman said she was "one of the most awesome, kindest, fantastic girls you could ever meet".

Luke Walker's brother, Ryan Walker, wrote on his Facebook page: "Luv u Chelsea xxx."

It is understood Ms Hyndman and Luke Walker, of Brierley Hill, West Midlands, were intending to spend the summer working on the island.

A Foreign Office spokeswoman said both the man and the woman's family were being provided with consular assistance.

Mr Koundourakis said his client's case was sent from prosecutors to an inquisitor judge today.

The lawyer said it was normal procedure in Crete and Mr Walker remains in custody ahead of tomorrow's hearing.