Tourists held after soldier dies in Cyprus

British passport-holders arrested over stabbing death at nightclub in popular resort town

Three British tourists are being questioned in Cyprus after an off-duty soldier was stabbed to death at a nightclub in the popular resort of Ayia Napa.

The 19-year-old, serving with 2nd Battalion The Royal Regiment of Fusiliers, was killed after he and three other soldiers allegedly became involved in an argument with the tourists.

A spokesman for the local police said the fight happened at a club called Black n White in the town’s central square. It is billed as one of Europe’s biggest nightclubs, with regular guest spots from superstar DJs. Radio 1Xtra has also broadcast from there.

According to reports, a knife was produced during the argument at about 3.30am and the soldier was stabbed once in the chest. He was pronounced dead on arrival at Famagusta General Hospital in nearby Paralimni.

Neither the victim nor the alleged perpetrators has been named today, although the dead man’s next of kin had been informed.

A local police spokesman confirmed that all three “boys” arrested had British passports but that two were of Pakistani origin. “There were between five and six people together and one was killed with a knife,” he said. “Three boys from England have been arrested. Two are from Pakistan but they all have British passports. They are being held in custody. It is a very early state in the investigation, however.”

A Foreign Office spokesman said it was offering advice to the accused but was unlikely to release further details due to the “sensitive nature” of the case. He said at least one of the three was under 18.

Connie Pierce, a spokeswoman for Britain’s two military bases in Cyprus, said the incident happened in a part of Ayia Napa that is off limits to British soldiers because of past trouble.

In 1996 three British soldiers were convicted of the 1994 rape and murder of a Danish tour guide, Louise Jensen, 23. They were released on appeal in 2006. In 2008 the mayor of Ayia Napa threatened to ban soldiers from the entire town after a rampage by nine British soldiers caused extensive damage.

The military ban was partially lifted in 2009 to allow daytime visits, but soldiers are still banned from the main square in Ayia Napa. Military police also regularly patrol the tourist spot.

About 3,500 British soldiers are based in Cyprus on two permanent bases, Dhekelia and Akrotiri, retained after the island gained independence in 1960.

A Ministry of Defence spokesman confirmed the soldier’s death today. He said: “The family has been informed and our thoughts are with them. The incident is a matter for the civilian police.”

A party town with a violent history

Each year thousands of young Britons head to Ayia Napa, on the southern coast of Cyprus, attracted by its super-clubs and a reputation for drink-fuelled excess. It is never far from the headlines – often for the behaviour of soldiers stationed at nearby Dhekelia.

In 2008 nine soldiers from 2nd Battalion The Royal Regiment of Fusiliers were acquitted of going on a rampage. They had allegedly smashed chairs, bottles and glasses in a bar brawl that left two Britons and two locals injured.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Life and Style
Fans line up at the AVNs, straining to capture a photo of their favourite star
life Tim Walker asks how much longer it can flesh out an existence
Life and Style
Every minute of every day, Twitter is awash with anger as we seek to let these organisations know precisely what we think of them
techWhen it comes to vitriol, no one on attracts our ire more than big businesses offering bad service
News
Professor David Nutt wants to change the way gravely ill patients are treated in Britain
people Why does a former Government tsar believe that mind-altering drugs have a place on prescription?
News
Norway’s ‘The Nordland Line – Minute by Minute, Season by Season’ continues the trend of slow TV
television
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
Arts and Entertainment
art
Sport
Jonny Evans has pleaded not guilty to an FA charge for spitting at Papiss Cisse
football
Life and Style
Kate Moss will make a cameo appearance in David Walliams' The Boy in the Dress
fashion
News
The image released by the Salvation Army, using 'The Dress'
news
Sport
Liverpool defender Kolo Toure
football Defender could make history in the FA Cup, but African Cup of Nations win means he's already content
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Day In a Page

Homeless Veterans campaign: Donations hit record-breaking £1m target after £300,000 gift from Lloyds Bank

Homeless Veterans campaign

Donations hit record-breaking £1m target after huge gift from Lloyds Bank
Flight MH370 a year on: Lost without a trace – but the search goes on

Lost without a trace

But, a year on, the search continues for Flight MH370
Germany's spymasters left red-faced after thieves break into brand new secret service HQ and steal taps

Germany's spy HQ springs a leak

Thieves break into new €1.5bn complex... to steal taps
International Women's Day 2015: Celebrating the whirlwind wit of Simone de Beauvoir

Whirlwind wit of Simone de Beauvoir

Simone de Beauvoir's seminal feminist polemic, 'The Second Sex', has been published in short-form for International Women's Day
Mark Zuckerberg’s hiring policy might suit him – but it wouldn’t work for me

Mark Zuckerberg’s hiring policy might suit him – but it wouldn’t work for me

Why would I want to employ someone I’d be happy to have as my boss, asks Simon Kelner
Confessions of a planespotter: With three Britons under arrest in the UAE, the perils have never been more apparent

Confessions of a planespotter

With three Britons under arrest in the UAE, the perils have never been more apparent. Sam Masters explains the appeal
Russia's gulag museum 'makes no mention' of Stalin's atrocities

Russia's gulag museum

Ministry of Culture-run site 'makes no mention' of Stalin's atrocities
The big fresh food con: Alarming truth behind the chocolate muffin that won't decay

The big fresh food con

Joanna Blythman reveals the alarming truth behind the chocolate muffin that won't decay
Virginia Ironside was my landlady: What is it like to live with an agony aunt on call 24/7?

Virginia Ironside was my landlady

Tim Willis reveals what it's like to live with an agony aunt on call 24/7
Paris Fashion Week 2015: The wit and wisdom of Manish Arora's exercise in high camp

Paris Fashion Week 2015

The wit and wisdom of Manish Arora's exercise in high camp
8 best workout DVDs

8 best workout DVDs

If your 'New Year new you' regime hasn’t lasted beyond February, why not try working out from home?
Paul Scholes column: I don't believe Jonny Evans was spitting at Papiss Cissé. It was a reflex. But what the Newcastle striker did next was horrible

Paul Scholes column

I don't believe Evans was spitting at Cissé. It was a reflex. But what the Newcastle striker did next was horrible
Miguel Layun interview: From the Azteca to Vicarage Road with a million followers

From the Azteca to Vicarage Road with a million followers

Miguel Layun is a star in Mexico where he was criticised for leaving to join Watford. But he says he sees the bigger picture
Frank Warren column: Amir Khan ready to meet winner of Floyd Mayweather v Manny Pacquiao

Khan ready to meet winner of Mayweather v Pacquiao

The Bolton fighter is unlikely to take on Kell Brook with two superstar opponents on the horizon, says Frank Warren
War with Isis: Iraq's government fights to win back Tikrit from militants - but then what?

Baghdad fights to win back Tikrit from Isis – but then what?

Patrick Cockburn reports from Kirkuk on a conflict which sectarianism has made intractable