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Somali teenager who stabbed British soldier in the heart during brawl in Cyprus nightclub jailed for eight years
Killed while off-duty: Tributes have been paid to Mr Collins, second left, on Twitter and a Facebook page has been set up in his memory
Friday, May 17, 2013
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A British teenager has been sentenced to eight years in prison over the stabbing death of a British soldier during a nightclub brawl in Cyprus.
David Lee Collins, 18, from London, was stabbed to death after a fight broke out in a nightclub in the popular resort of Ayia Napa last November.
The court said that Mohamed Abdulkadir Osman, originally from Somalia, but living in London, was provoked and 'lost self-control' when he pulled out a switchblade and fatally stabbed Mr Collins.
The three-judge bench said that Collins had confronted Osman and his friends after being punched by an unidentified nightclub patron, raising a clenched fist at the group and telling them 'Are you bad men?' - a phrase which the court said is interpreted in Britain as a challenge to a fight.
The court said that it was a group of friends with Collins - all of whom were soldiers - that started the fight.
The court also took into account that there was no premeditation on 19-year-old Osman's part since he didn't previously know the victim, had fully cooperated with investigators and had apologised to the victim's family.
But it discounted Osman's consumption of alcohol as a mitigating factor and noted the fact that he had the switchblade on him inside the club 'carried the possibility of harm being caused.'
David Collins' mother Lisa Minott, arrived at the court in Larnaca, Cypru clutching a large handbag with a painted portrait of her son
Police searching Osman's hotel room at the time turned up marijuana, two brass knuckles and 11 switchblades that the defendant said he bought from a local store as souvenirs to take back home and give to friends.
Charges against two other teenagers, who were both 17 at the time of the stabbing, were dropped.
Mr Collins, from the 2nd Battalion, Royal Regiment of Fusiliers, died from a 'ruptured heart caused by a sharp instrument', according to a post-mortem.
He was stationed at the British Army base at Dhekelia but was due to fly to Afghanistan the day before he died and his battalion's mission was delayed.
Mr Collins' mother Lisa Minott and her sister - along with members of his regiment - were in court to hear the sentencing.
MoD spokeswoman Connie Pierce said the attack took place in an area of the eastern Mediterranean island that British soldiers are told to avoid because of previous incidents.
After the rape and murder of Danish tour guide Louise Jensen by British servicemen in 1994, the centre of Ayia Napa - a clubbing resort with a reputation for sex, drugs and violence - was declared off limits to soldiers by military top brass on the island.
About 3,000 British military personnel are stationed in Cyprus at bases retained after the former British colony gained independence in 1960.
In 2008, nine British soldiers went on trial accused of trashing a pub and beating up its owner during a mass bar brawl on the island.
The servicemen, who were celebrating finishing tours of Iraq and Afghanistan and coming home to the UK, were all acquitted.
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