No action is to be taken in the UK against a man who threw his six-year-old son to his death from a hotel balcony in Crete, the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) said today.
John Hogan, from Bristol in the UK, leapt 50ft from the Petra Mare Hotel in August 2006, clutching his son Liam, who died from severe head injuries.
Hogan, who survived the fall, was tried by a Greek court and acquitted of Liam’s murder in January this year after judges heard he had suffered an “earthquake” of psychosis.
Following an inquest finding of unlawful killing held in Bristol in March, UK police handed a file to the CPS to consider whether there was a basis for bringing a prosecution against Hogan should he return to England or Wales.
But today, the CPS ruled out prosecuting Hogan on home turf, on the grounds that no “new and compelling evidence” had surfaced since the Greek trial.
Hogan, a former floor-tiler, now 34, leapt from the balcony with Liam and his daughter Mia, two, after he argued with his then wife, Natasha Visser, during their ``make or break'' family holiday in the resort of Ierapetra.
Liam landed on his head and died within hours. Mia survived with relatively minor injuries.
Following Liam’s inquest, Mrs Visser urged the CPS to consider legal action against her ex-husband, who has been held at a secure psychiatric unit in Greece since his trial, as “justice has so far not been done”.
But today reviewing lawyer Stephen O’Doherty, from the CPS Special Crime Division, said this would not happen.
He said: “In order to make such an application there must be ’new and compelling evidence’ that was not available at the original trial.
“An examination of the court proceedings shows that there was very little dispute as to what had taken place. Mr Hogan was acquitted because of the evidence as to his state of mind at that time.
“Any ’new and compelling evidence’ would have to relate to Mr Hogan’s mental state as it was in August 2006. Such evidence would also have to be ’substantial’ and ’highly probative’ of any case against him.
“The Director has concluded that there is no evidence in this category that would enable an application to be made.
“We at the Crown Prosecution Service pass our sympathies to Mrs Visser as she tries to come to terms with the untimely death of her son and the injuries caused to her daughter.”
The CPS confirmed it had informed Mrs Visser of the decision.
Immediately after the inquest into her son's death, Mrs Visser made an impassioned plea to the CPS for action.
She said: “His verdict comes as no surprise, and in the light of this new body of evidence we understand that it will now be up to the English CPS to consider very carefully what, if any, action they will take for a prosecution of John Hogan for murder and attempted murder in the UK – as justice has not so far been done.”
Avon coroner Paul Forrest said evidence from fresh witnesses at the inquest in March was an “essential ingredient” of the hearing.
Giving his verdict of unlawful killing, Mr Forrest said: “The mere act committed was in itself unlawful on the basis of common sense as death resulted.
“In my judgment an intention or lack of same, whether the actor was capable of understanding his acts, is irrelevant for the purposes of my verdict.”
Hogan and now re-married Mrs Visser had been together for 10 years but had flown to Crete for a “make or break” holiday following problems in their marriage.
Hogan had a history of anxiety, made worse by tragedies in his family including the death of his father and the suicides of his two brothers.
In an interview with the Sunday Mirror earlier this month, speaking from the Greek secure unit, Hogan said: “I want people to understand that while some might think of me as evil, I was psychologically ill.
“Please believe me, those five to 10 seconds of insanity were not John Hogan.
“I’ve pushed my body and mind to try to find those seconds of madness. I could not and still cannot believe I could ever hurt my two innocent babies.”
Mrs Visser’s stepfather Brian Chandler today said she was undecided if she would comment on the CPS’ decision not to prosecute Hogan.