Briton pleads guilty in Cyprus soldier stabbing

22nd April 2013, Comments 0 comments

A Briton has admitted to killing a teenage British soldier during a disco fight in the holiday resort of Ayia Napa last year while his two co-accused had all charges dropped, Cyprus police said on Monday.

Mohamed Abdulkadir Osman, 19, changed his "not guilty" plea to manslaughter charges and will now remain in police custody until May 15 when he will reappear in court to be sentenced. Manslaughter carries a life prison term in Cyprus.

Police spokesman George Economou told AFP that Osman had changed his mind and now "accepted his guilt for stabbing the soldier".

He said two fellow British tourists -- who cannot be named for legal reasons because they are both 17 -- were released after charges against them were dropped.

They faced possible charges of manslaughter, possession of a knife and use of a class B drug.

David Lee Collins, 19, from Manchester, was stabbed to death in a nightclub confrontation with a group of British tourists on November 4.

Collins was stationed at Dhekelia garrison with the 2nd Battalion Royal Regiment of Fusiliers, part of British army reserve forces for Afghanistan.

Police said the incident occurred when four off-duty British soldiers argued with the suspects.

The fracas is believed to have ignited over taunting related to Manchester-London rivalry.

During the row, the 19-year-old soldier was stabbed in the chest with a knife.

Police have said that Osman had admitted to stabbing the victim but argued it was in self-defence as he and his friends were allegedly attacked by the soldiers.

Although the two 17-year-olds put themselves at the scene of the crime, they said they played no part in the violence, said police.

A post-mortem concluded Collins died from a "ruptured heart caused by a sharp instrument."

Police said a switchblade was recovered at the scene of the crime and 11 knives were confiscated from the accuseds' hotel room.

British Forces Cyprus said the incident happened in an area out of bounds to soldiers because of previous incidents.

British soldiers have been banned from pubs and clubs at the centre of the resort since 1994 when Louise Jensen, a 23-year-old Danish tour guide, was abducted, raped and beaten to death by three British servicemen.

Ayia Napa is the island's most popular resort among young holidaymakers, especially British tourists attracted by the nightlife.

Around 9,000 British troops and their dependants are stationed on Cyprus as Britain retained two large sovereign base areas after the island gained independence from colonial rule in 1960.

© 2013 AFP

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