Welcome to the new Independent website. We hope you enjoy it and we value your feedback. Please contact us here.

Home News

Briton 'set on fire' denies provoking attack

A British tourist allegedly set on fire by a Greek woman who accused him of sexually harassing her during a night out today insisted he did nothing to provoke the attack.

Stuart Feltham, of Swindon, Wiltshire, was due to testify against 26-year-old student Marina Fanouraki, who is accused of throwing sambuca on him and lighting it in a bar on Crete.

But the 20-year-old plumber flew home on Sunday night because he feared vigilante-style reprisals, according to his father Ian.

Fanouraki was charged last week after turning herself in to police in the resort of Malia.

She admits pouring the drink over Mr Feltham, claiming she did so after he made inappropriate advances to her. But she denies setting fire to him.

The story has made national headlines in Greece, where some have hailed her as a heroine who took a stand against rowdy British holidaymakers.

In an interview with The Sun, Mr Feltham said: "I am completely innocent - I did nothing to provoke her.

"I had nothing to do with her at all. It came completely out of the blue.

"Stories about me showing my privates or pestering her are complete fiction.

"All the Greeks are trying to do is protect their tourism industry by claiming it was my fault. Tens of thousands of Brits go out there for their holidays and it could have happened to anyone."

Mr Feltham, who suffered second-degree burns to his chest and stomach, claims Fanouraki threw an inflammable liquid over him and set it alight.

"It's been reported that it was sambuca that was poured on me, but that's not true. It was some flammable liquid they kept behind the bar for a party trick where it's squirted on the bar top and set on fire and people dance over it.

"The bottle was easily reachable right behind the bar and I can only think she'd reached over and grabbed it.

"The flames singed my hair and ear and the whole of my front was on fire for between five and 10 seconds.

"I was in agony and I rolled on the floor to put out the flames like a madman."

Mr Feltham was coming to the end of a two-week holiday with five friends when the incident happened.

He added: "I was just out having a good time with my mates and now I could be scarred for life for nothing."

The trial in the town of Iraklion in northern Crete was adjourned until August 17.

Mr Feltham's lawyer, George Koundourakis, said: "I asked for the postponement of the case as Mr Feltham had to return to England for medical matters and to return to his family and also to gather more evidence in collaboration with his father."

He said the case was likely to be adjourned again as he would request more time to gather witness evidence.

Asked if Mr Feltham was likely to return to Crete to give evidence, he said it was too premature to say.

Mr Koundourakis said Fanouraki did not appear in court yesterday.