Briton faces murder charge over hotel death

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The Independent Online

A British man whose six-year-old son was killed when they plunged from a hotel balcony in Crete will be charged with the boy's murder once he recovers from his injuries, the Foreign Office said last night.

John Hogan, 32, is under police guard at the University General Hospital in Heraklion, Crete. A Foreign Office spokesman said he believed Mr Hogan would be charged with the murder of his son Liam and the attempted murder of his two-year-old daughter, Mia. He was moved from intensive care last night after receiving surgery for a broken arm and leg and chest injuries.

The Hogan family, of Bristol, had been staying at a resort in southern Crete when Mr Hogan fell 50 feet from their fourth-floor balcony with the two children on Tuesday. Liam died ofhead and internal injuries while Mia suffered a broken arm.

She has been released from hospital and has returned to Britan with her mother, Natasha.

The family released a statement last night saying they were trying to come to terms with what had happened: "All the family were looking forward to this holiday. It was to be an opportunity for us to enjoy quality time together in an environment away from the general strains of life.

"We are grateful for and look forward to the continued support of both families. This is clearly a developing situation.

We have not had the opportunity to discuss in detail with John exactly what happened. He has undergone surgeryand remains in hospital at this time.

"Arrangements are in place to bring Liam back to the UK. Funeral details will be released when they are finalised. Mia has received treatment and been discharged from hospital to continue her treatment in the UK.

"The family has no comment to make in relation to any investigation. The full facts will be made available in due course.

"Our thanks go out to all those involved in assisting the family throughout this critical time. We ask [to be] given time to come to terms with the loss of Liam.

A Foreign Office spokesman said Mr Hogan would be charged when his doctors were satisfied with his condition. A spokesman for the Greek Embassy in London said that once he was charged, Mr Hogan would appear before the public prosecutor in Heraklion. "I would expect Mr Hogan to appear in court quite quickly once he is charged. This is because he was arrested and taken to hospital at the scene and there were many witnesses. This should allow court proceedings to proceed quite quickly."

This would be within a fortnight, the spokesman added.

The incident took place at the Petra Mare hotel, a four-star beachfront hotel in Lerapetra where the family had booked for a two-week holiday. Fellow guests reported that they heard shouting and crying coming from the family's room before the incident. Panayotis Spatharakis, the director of Heraklion Hospital, said: "We asked him why he did it and he told us he was very drunk and could not exactly remember what happened."

According to a police report, which was leaked to journalists yesterday, Mr Hogan, who runs a tiling business from his Bristol home, has a history of depression and anti-depressant use.