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Balcony jump dad to be freed from hospital

A BRITISH man who jumped from a Greek hotel balcony with his two young children nearly three years ago is expected to leave an Athens psychiatric hospital within 10 days, after an Athens court ruled he should be freed, the institution's director said yesterday.

John Hogan, 35, from near Bristol in southwest England, leapt from the fourth-floor balcony of a hotel in the Cretan resort of Ierapetra on August 15, 2006, after an argument with his wife, who has since divorced him.

His six-year-old son Liam was killed in the fall. His daughter Mia, then aged 2, survived.

A court in Crete acquitted Hogan of his son's murder and his daughter's attempted murder in 2008 but ordered him to be held at a Greek psychiatric hospital indefinitely.

An Athens court ruled on Friday he should be released and allowed to return home.

The head of the Attica Psychiatric Hospital, Thanassis Kosmopoulos, told The Associated Press yesterday that Hogan was no longer under detention but would remain in the hospital until arrangements for his departure for England could be made. He said the procedure was expected to be completed within 10 days.

"Essentially his detention no longer exists. The patient will remain here until bureaucratic details concerning his departure for England are taken care of," Kosmopoulos said.

"Mr Hogan at the moment is in very good health," he added. "He is a person who takes his medication, he is harmless to anyone, to himself, and just needs a psychotherapeutic approach in his home country."

Dimitris Xyritakis, the lawyer who represented Hogan in his 2008 trial, welcomed the court decision to free the Briton.

"He needs to be near his family ... for them to support his first steps after his release," Xyritakis told AP.


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