Greek taxi drivers held over death

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The Independent Online

The two taxi drivers suspected of being involved in an attack which left a teenage former England football team mascot dead and four others injured are still being questioned today by police, according to the Greek embassy.

Robert Sebbage, 18, died in the early hours of yesterday after the incident in which he was fatally stabbed at the Lagana resort on the popular Greek island of Zakynthos.

The two Greek drivers have been arrested and detained and the weapon recovered, local police said.

The four injured Britons are being treated in hospital for injuries that are not life-threatening.

Mr Sebbage's family is believed to be heading out to Greece today to learn about the incident and police investigation for themselves.

The incident happened as Mr Sebbage had been with his friends outside a nightclub when an argument started with the taxi drivers.

Reports have said the incident followed a laser pen being aimed at the drivers.

A Greek news website reported that one of the drivers said after the incident: "I was annoyed because the young British tourists bothered us with lasers."

A 21-year-old is facing a murder charge and his 25-year-old colleague is charged with complicity to commit murder, according to local police.

A spokesman for the Greek embassy in London confirmed that the suspects were currently in custody and were still being questioned.

He said: "They were taken into custody, they are being questioned and they should be in court in about the next two days.

"We cannot express anything while they are being questioned."

Pupils at Mr Sebbage's former school will tomorrow morning hold a minute's silence in his memory.

Headteacher Malcolm Christian said that to reflect Mr Sebbage's love of sport, a one-minute applause would also be held at the school's sports personality of the year evening being held next Thursday.

He added: "All at the Hurst Community College were saddened to hear of Robert's untimely death.

"He held a special place in our hearts for the way in which he had fought hard to overcome a significant medical condition when he was younger.

"We remember the many friendships he had created, his quiet tenacity in overcoming adversity and how well he achieved with us at GCSE level prior to going on to sixth form college."

Brian McDermott, manager of Reading Football Club, of which Mr Sebbage was a keen fan, said that all at the club had been "deeply saddened to hear of the tragic passing of our young season ticket holder".

He added: "It is very difficult to even talk about. He was only 18 years of age and a big Reading fan. It's awful, everyone just feels for his friends and family.

"Of course, we send our deepest condolences on behalf of everyone connected with the club."

Mr McDermott added that the club would contact Mr Sebbage's family when it was appropriate and offer any help and support it could.

A campaign has been launched on Facebook to hold a minute's silence in memory of Mr Sebbage at Reading's season opener against Millwall on August 6.

Tributes have also flooded in to three other Facebook pages set up in the teenager's memory.

A statement released yesterday on behalf of the Sebbage family by Hampshire Police said: "All these young men are very close friends.

"They are simply just a bunch of nice lads and this is their first holiday abroad and they had all gone just to enjoy themselves."

Hampshire Police said they were liaising with the Sebbage family on behalf of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office.

In 2007, Mr Sebbage was chosen to be a mascot for the England team in a friendly against Brazil at the new Wembley Stadium and posed for photographs next to David Beckham.

Jane Sharpe, CEO of Rays of Sunshine, said that the charity was heartbroken to hear of Mr Sebbage's death.

She said: "We are devastated by the tragic news of Robert Sebbage. Our heartfelt condolences go out to his family at this heartbreaking time.

"It was our privilege to have met Robert when we fulfilled his wish to be mascot for the England football team when he was 14. "Robert battled with his illness for many years, only to have his life stolen from him in such a cruel manner.

"We will always remember Robert's pride and excitement as he stood alongside David Beckham. Our thoughts are with his parents and family."