Distraught father faces court in Crete for murder of son, 6

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The Independent Online

John Hogan, the British man accused off murdering his six-year-old son by throwing him from a hotel balcony in Crete, broke down repeatedly yesterday as he appeared in court for the first time.

Mr Hogan was in tears and looked distraught as he arrived at the court in Crete. He limped into court and was met by his mother Josephine who he hugged and told: " I'm sorry."

During a family holiday, Mr Hogan plunged 50ft from the fourth-floor hotel balcony with Liam and his two-year-old daughter Mia.

Liam died and was cremated earlier this week, while Mia survived the fall with a broken arm.

Mr Hogan, who manages a tiling business in Bristol, had allegedly argued with his wife shortly before the fall. The family had been staying at the four-star Petra Mare Hotel in the popular resort of Lerapetra. He is charged with murdering Liam and the attempted murder of Mia.

He spoke briefly before chief magistrate Christos Papageorgopoulos and Lasithi county chief Dadinopoulos. Judicial officials involved in the investigation said Mr Hogan expressed remorse during the closed-door hearing and cried much of the time while another source said he had failed to offer a coherent explanation of his actions.

Mr Hogan, who suffered a broken arm, leg and chest injuries in the fall three weeks ago, was told he would receive a psychiatric examination and was denied bail.

He was transferred to Neapolis prison in Crete and is to be transferred to Korydallos high-security jail on the outskirts of Athens.

His lawyer, Dimitris Xyritakis, said he would be pleading that his client was " in a state of confusion" when he jumped from the balcony. The case is not expected to come to trial for 10 months.

On Tuesday, hundreds of mourners gathered to remember Liam in a funeral service at Holy Trinity Church in Bradley Stoke, Bristol - a short distance from the Hogan family home.

Liam's mother, Natasha Hogan, 34, blew her " happy little chap" a last poignant kiss goodbye as he was laid to rest. The youngster's body arrived at the service in a hearse surrounded by floral tributes, including two from his favourite television show Doctor Who - one of a Dalek and the other of a Tardis.

The Rev George Nuttall, one of the two ministers conducting the funeral, described Liam as a " loving" child and also insisted that John Hogan had been " an excellent dad" to his son.

" Not a day would go by without him (Liam) telling his mum, Natasha, that he loved her," he told the congregation.

" When Natasha got dressed up and made up to go out, he would always stop what he was doing and say how beautiful she looked.

" He loved his little sister, Mia, always hugging and kissing her, being very protective. They would often sit cuddling on the sofa together to watch their favourite TV programme."

Mrs Hogan's mother was the only member of the family to give a reading during the service.

On Monday, Mrs Hogan, a nurse, released a statement, paying an emotional tribute to her son.

She said: " Liam was a young boy gaining confidence every day, with a bright, happy character. He loved, and was loved by all his family."

She continued: " I will always remember my Liam as a happy little chap."

An inquest into Liam's death was opened and adjourned in Bristol last week.

The Foreign Office confirmed that Mr Hogan had been formally charged with the murder of Liam, the attempted murder of Mia and attempted suicide.

A spokeswoman said: " We don't have a date for the trial yet and he has been taken back to hospital.

The spokeswoman added: " It was a closed hearing - only him, his lawyer and a translator were present."

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