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The Daily Mail
By NICK CRAVEN and DAN NEWLING
Last updated at 10:47 19 August 2006
The family of the British man who plunged off a hotel balcony holding his young son and daughter said today they had been looking forward to a holiday of “quality time” together.
The Hogan family released a statement saying details of the tragedy during their holiday in Crete were still unclear.
The family said: “All the family were looking forward to this holiday. It was to be an opportunity for us to enjoy quality time together in an environment away from the general strains of daily life.”
Lying encased in plaster on a trolley in a Crete hospital, the sheer enormity of what he had done was beginning to sink in for John Hogan.
Realising that his drink and drugs-fuelled moment of madness on a 50ft high hotel balcony had killed his six-year-old son Liam, he told doctors he wished he himself had died.
While the 32-year-old businessman suffered only minor injuries and his two-year-old daughter Mia miraculously survived with just a broken arm, cushioned by her father, Liam died almost instantly after hitting the ground.
Hogan, who tried to kill himself and his children during a furious row with his wife Natasha during their family holiday, was under arrest and being guarded by armed police.
Physically, he is expected to make a full recovery, having suffered only a broken arm and leg, and within ten days will be taken into police custody, having already been charged with the murder of his son and the attempted murder of his daughter.
Hogan, who runs a tiling business in Bristol, tried to take the lives of his two blonde-haired children after the row with his 34-year-old wife on Tuesday night. She told police she was leaving him and planned to take the children.
He shouted: “I’ll take them with me before you do”, as he scaled the safety railing.
His utterly selfish actions have shocked both Britain and Greece.
The chief of the hospital where the family was first taken, even urged Hogan to take his own life yesterday.
Appearing on national television, Panayotis Spatharakis, Director of the Heraklion City General Hospital in Crete, said: “I feel that, once he recovers and understands what he has done, he should commit suicide.”
Greek police reports yesterday revealed that John Hogan had taken a cocktail of anti-depressants and alcohol shortly before taking his drastic action.
There is also thought be a history of mental trauma in the family – Hogan’s brother committed suicide last year.
As the shock of Liam’s death left his mother and family distraught, more details emerged about the troubled family background leading up to the tragedy.
The couple had had violent rows for weeks back home in Bristol before the incident, it was revealed.
The Hogan’s holiday, at the upmarket Petra Mare resort in Lerapetra in southern Crete, was designed as a ‘new beginning’ for the couple who had been having marriage difficulties.
But their arguments continued and after only a week together Hogan was making plans to travel home early.
A hospital source revealed: “He went to the hotel reception and asked about flights going back to England that evening – they were told there was a flight leaving almost immediately.
“The family were in their room, packing their bags to leave, when the argument flared up again.
The mother then went downstairs to the hotel reception, leaving her husband in the room with the children.
“Amazingly, none of the three made a sound as they fell. The first the mother knew was when hotel guests started screaming.”
Tragically the deadly fall was witnessed by dozens of young children, who were sitting on a coach in front of the hotel, preparing to travel home.
Yesterday guests at the family-orientated hotel revealed that the couple had been arguing conspicuously in the run up to the incident.
One female teenage holiday maker said: “We were sunbathing next to the mother and she was telling her friends that she and her husband had split up.
It sounded really serious. She was talking about getting family credit and how things could work financially for her as a single mum.
“He was trying to get an early flight out of there but she didn’t want to leave. I didn’t like him much. He was always stomping around the hotel with a face like thunder.”
In Bristol, the family’s neighbours revealed the Hogans had a violent row with his wife just weeks before going away on holiday.
They woke their neighbours with a furious 2am fight in which he hurled objects at her in the street from a bedroom window.
Locals say she appeared to be locked out of their home in Bradley Stoke, Bristol, while John hurled verbal abuse and various objects – believed to be clothes and shoes – at her.
The neighbour, who refused to be named, said: “I thought maybe they had been drinking or perhaps she had been with having an affair with another man or something. It was very ferocious and must have woken up the entire street.”
Mrs Hogan works as a deputy sister in the accident and emergency department at the Royal Gwent Hospital in Newport, south Wales.
Last night, friends and neighbours spoke of their shock and paid tribute to Liam.
Fighting back tears, the mother of one of the boy’s classmates at Wheatfield Primary School said: “We’ve heard about what happened in Crete. It’s absolutely horrific. We’re all in total shock and we’re basically in mourning. Liam and his mum and dad were lovely and we just can’t believe that this has happened. How on earth do we explain this to our children?
“All our kids are shocked but they don’t really understand the unbearable tragedy of what’s happened, so we’re having to be extremely gentle with them.
“Our hearts go out to Natasha. We just want to be left alone to grieve.”
Vice-chairman of Wheatfield Primary School, Deborah Hilliam, said an assembly for tragic Liam would be arranged when the pupils returned from holiday.
She said: “We were informed about the tragedy on Wednesday. I didn’t know the family or Liam personally but our deepest sympathies go out to them.
“This is a very tragic time and, obviously, when school starts next month we’ll have to explain things to the children. In the meantime, our hearts go out to the family.”
Neighbours of Hogan’s mother Josephine Hogan, 64, who lives in Bedminster, Bristol, said that she was “devastated” by the news and had flown to Greece yesterday.
Despite her terrifying ordeal, two-year-old Mia Hogan was yesterday playing and walking around the hospital with her arm in plaster.
She is expected to be taken home to England by her mother within the next two or three days.
Hogan has been charged with premeditated murder of his son and with the attempted murder of his daughter.
Under Greek law, he faces a maximum penalty of life imprisonment, which in practice means a maximum of 25 years.