Balcony death father arrives back in UK

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The Independent Online

A father who killed his six-year-old son by throwing him from a balcony in Greece has returned to Britain.

John Hogan arrived at Heathrow airport yesterday and was escorted out by police. The 36-year-old killed his son, Liam, when he threw him off the balcony at the Petra Mare Hotel in Crete in 2006. He also jumped himself while holding his daughter, Mia, two.

He has been receiving treatment in Athens since he was cleared of Liam's murder last year. Mr Hogan, made no comment as he left the plane, accompanied by police officers.

The former tiler from Bristol has spent three years in Greek prisons and psychiatric hospitals since the incident, which left Mr Hogan and Mia with broken limbs while Liam suffered fatal head injuries.

Two weeks ago, an Athens court decided that Mr Hogan had made an adequate recovery and would not pose a risk to other passengers on a flight back to Britain. Mr Hogan's ex-wife, Natasha Visser, said the court's decision was "horrendous".

Kerstin Scheel, Mr Hogan's solicitor, said her client would go straight into psychiatric care and that he did not intend to contact his daughter.

"At Mrs Natasha Visser's request he has not made any contact with Mia since August 2006," she said. "Mr Hogan will not attempt either now or in the future to contact Mia. Any decision to make contact must come from his daughter. Mr Hogan does not wish to cause any further unhappiness or distress for the family.

"Mr Hogan struggles daily under the weight of the intense pain and loss of what his mental condition and actions have caused, and will continue to do so for the rest of his life.

"Mr Hogan only wants what is best for Mrs Visser and his daughter Mia, and in particular for her to have as normal a childhood as possible. He knows that Mia is with her mother, the best person to love and care for her."

An Avon and Somerset Police spokesman said support would be provided to Mr Hogan if he returned to his home in Bradley Stoke, Bristol.

"He is a free man returning to the UK. He has to make his own decision on what he wants to do," he said.