Parents of teen who died in Greece believe there was police cover-up

His death was passed off as yet another example of irresponsible young Britons drinking themselves to death on holiday: a 17-year-old boy who fell 20ft down the stairs of a nightclub in the popular beach resort of Laganas, on the Greek island of Zante, after drinking a potent concoction of spirits known locally as a "bomb".

On Greek television, reports about the death of Matthew Cryer were illustrated with clips of intoxicated British tourists having sex on the island's beaches. "The youngster apparently choked and suffered cardiac arrest from excessive intake of alcohol," a local police spokesman said at the time.

But a very different story about the the teenager's death is now emerging.

Greek prosecutors have been forced to review the police investigation after a coroner in the UK ruled that the teenager, who died outside the town's Cocktails and Dreams nightclub on 21 July 2008, had been unlawfully killed.

Matthew's parents claim the true cause of his death was covered up to protect the island's tourism industry, and have led a passionate campaign calling for the perpetrators to be brought to justice. A spokeswoman for Derbyshire Constabulary said the force was handing their Greek counterparts hundreds of pages of evidence – compiled from information gathered during the coroner's inquest as well as interviews with the teenager's family and friends – which suggests he was assaulted.

The UK's Serious Organised Crime Agency said the Greek authorities had requested a translation of the material and described this as "a promising development". However, Matthew's parents told The Independent yesterday that the evidence was still lying untouched in the police station in Derbyshire, as the Greek police have not yet provided a contact in their department.

Matthew, an engineering student from Killamarsh near Sheffield, who worked at Burger King to fund his studies, had flown to Laganas to celebrate his friend Terry Golding's 18th birthday. He was in a group of four teenage friends and two adults – his first non-family holiday – but on their first night out, he became separated from the others. Greek police said he had been drinking heavily in the Cocktails and Dreams club despite being under age, and was found lying on the street outside after falling down the flight of steps to the club's entrance. A local coroner ruled he had "choked and suffered cardiac arrest" after drinking excessively.

However, an autopsy in the UK revealed that Matthew had suffered 20 injuries, including severe head injuries and bruising. Witnesses at the inquest said they had seen the club's bouncers push him down the stairs, punching him and kicking him in the head as he lay on the ground. The inquest also heard that Greek police officers had failed to act as the teenager lay dying, and did not take witness statements because they were intimidated by the bouncers. The club's owner was questioned about serving alcohol to a minor, but investigations seemed to end there.

It took an hour for an ambulance to arrive. Matthew died in hospital. Robert Hunter, the Derby and South Derbyshire Coroner, passed down a verdict of unlawful killing.

The teenager's father, David Cryer, 44, said: "To me, since day one it's just been a cover-up. The policing is inadequate, and so is the medical care. It sounds as if the place is run by the door staff. We'd like the doormen locked up."

The publicity surrounding Matthew's death has led to allegations being made about the Cocktails and Dreams club by other visitors to Laganas. On the website Justice4Matthew.com, one woman claimed she had witnessed similar violence by door staff. The club's owners could not be contacted yesterday.

Matthew's mother, Joanne Froud, 43, said: "It's a small island and people know each other. We know witnesses wanted to give statements to the police and they wouldn't take them."

Suggested Topics
News
ebookA unique anthology of reporting and analysis of a crucial period of history
Arts and Entertainment
Standing the test of time: Michael J Fox and Christopher Lloyd in 'Back to the Future'
filmReview: A week late, Secret Cinema arrives as interactive screening goes Back to the Future
News
Chancellor George Osborne, along with the Prime Minister, have been 'complacently claiming the economy is now fixed', according to shadow Chancellor Ed Balls
i100... which is awkward, because he is their boss, after all
Travel
travel
Arts and Entertainment
Sydney and Melbourne are locked in a row over giant milk crates
artCultural relations between Sydney and Melbourne soured by row over milk crate art instillation
Arts and Entertainment
Adèle Exarchopoulos and Léa Seydoux play teeneage lovers in the French erotic drama 'Blue Is The Warmest Colour' - The survey found four times as many women admitting to same-sex experiences than 20 years ago
filmBlue Is The Warmest Colour, Bojack Horseman and Hobbit on the way
Arts and Entertainment
Preparations begin for Edinburgh Festival 2014
Edinburgh festivalAll the best shows to see at Edinburgh this year
News
i100
News
Kenny Ireland, pictured in 2010.
peopleBenidorm, actor was just 68
Environment
View from the Llanberis Track to the mountain lake Llyn
Du’r Arddu
environmentA large chunk of Mount Snowdon, in north Wales, is up for sale
Arts and Entertainment
arts + ents
News
Morrissey pictured in 2013
people
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Day In a Page

Dress the Gaza situation up all you like, but the truth hurts

Robert Fisk on Gaza conflict

Dress the situation up all you like, but the truth hurts
Save the tiger: Tiger, tiger burning less brightly as numbers plummet

Tiger, tiger burning less brightly

When William Blake wrote his famous poem there were probably more than 100,000 tigers in the wild. These days they probably number around 3,200
5 News's Andy Bell retraces his grandfather's steps on the First World War battlefields

In grandfather's footsteps

5 News's political editor Andy Bell only knows his grandfather from the compelling diary he kept during WWI. But when he returned to the killing fields where Edwin Vaughan suffered so much, his ancestor came to life
Lifestyle guru Martha Stewart reveals she has flying robot ... to take photos of her farm

Martha Stewart has flying robot

The lifestyle guru used the drone to get a bird's eye view her 153-acre farm in Bedford, New York
Former Labour minister Meg Hillier has demanded 'pootling lanes' for women cyclists

Do women cyclists need 'pootling lanes'?

Simon Usborne (who's more of a hurtler) explains why winning the space race is key to happy riding
A tale of two presidents: George W Bush downs his paintbrush to pen father’s life story

A tale of two presidents

George W Bush downs his paintbrush to pen father’s life story
Restaurateur Mitch Tonks has given the Great Western Pullman dining car a makeover

The dining car makes a comeback

Restaurateur Mitch Tonks has given the Great Western Pullman dining car a makeover
Gallery rage: How are institutions tackling the discomfort of overcrowding this summer?

Gallery rage

How are institutions tackling the discomfort of overcrowding this summer?
Louis van Gaal has £500,000 video surveillance system installed to monitor Manchester United players

Eye on the prize

Louis van Gaal has £500,000 video surveillance system installed to monitor Manchester United players
Women's rugby: Tamara Taylor adds fuel to the ire in quest to land World Cup

Women's rugby

Tamara Taylor adds fuel to the ire in quest to land World Cup
Save the tiger: The day America’s love of backyard tigers led to a horrific bloodbath

The day America’s love of backyard tigers led to a horrific bloodbath

With only six per cent of the US population of these amazing big cats held in zoos, the Zanesville incident in 2011 was inevitable
Samuel Beckett's biographer reveals secrets of the writer's time as a French Resistance spy

How Samuel Beckett became a French Resistance spy

As this year's Samuel Beckett festival opens in Enniskillen, James Knowlson, recalls how the Irish writer risked his life for liberty and narrowly escaped capture by the Gestapo
We will remember them: relatives still honour those who fought in the Great War

We will remember them

Relatives still honour those who fought in the Great War
Star Wars Episode VII is being shot on film - and now Kodak is launching a last-ditch bid to keep celluloid alive

Kodak's last-ditch bid to keep celluloid alive

Director J J Abrams and a few digital refuseniks shoot movies on film. Simon Usborne wonders what the fuss is about
Once stilted and melodramatic, Hollywood is giving acting in video games a makeover

Acting in video games gets a makeover

David Crookes meets two of the genre's most popular voices