Father charged with murder over boy's hotel plunge

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The Independent Online

A British father accused of killing his son in a fall from a hotel balcony in Greece broke down in court today.

Liam Hogan, six, was killed when his father, John Hogan, plunged 50ft from the fourth-floor during a family holiday on Crete.

The boy and his sister, Mia, two, were allegedly being held by their father when he jumped from the building on August 15.

Liam died after suffering massive head injuries in the fall, but Mia survived after breaking her arm.

Hogan, 32, who runs a tiling business in Bristol, suffered a broken arm, leg and chest injuries.

He has been charged with murdering his son and the attempted murder of his daughter.

Hogan was told he would receive a psychiatric examination, Greek authorities said.

Hogan was taken by ambulance to appear before an investigating magistrate in Neapolis, in northern Crete.

Judicial officials involved in the investigation told The Associated Press that Hogan expressed remorse during the closed-door hearing and cried much of the time.

He was formally remanded in custody and his trial is not expected to take place until next year.

Hogan, looking frail, arrived at the courthouse by ambulance and was transferred

into a wheelchair, clutching a bottle of water.

Inside the building, he was held by the arms as he limped to the courtroom for the private hearing.

Hogan is still receiving treatment for the injuries he suffered in the fall from the balcony of the four-star Petra Mare Hotel in the popular resort of Lerapetra.

Since the incident, he has been under police guard while being treated at the University General Hospital, in the island's capital Heraklion.

His lawyer, Dimitris Xyritakis, said last night he will plead that his client was in a "state of confusion" at the time of the incident.

Yesterday, hundreds of mourners gathered to remember Liam during an emotional 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 TV 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 Liam as a happy little chap."

Hogan and his wife had been on a two-week holiday with their children when the tragedy happened.

The couple had allegedly argued just moments before the fall.

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

The Foreign Office confirmed that 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.

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