British chef in Spanish court over alleged murder of Irish father-of-two

Leigh Anthony Gardiner is remanded in custody after John Pender stabbed in pub

Irish man John Pender was fatally stabbed in a bar in Spain while on holiday with his wife and two children.

Irish man John Pender was fatally stabbed in a bar in Spain while on holiday with his wife and two children.

 

A chef from Britain has appeared in court in Spain after being arrested on suspicion of murdering Irish father-of-two and charity worker John Pender in a Costa del Sol pub.

Leigh Anthony Gardiner (49) was brought into court in the resort of Fuengirola by two police officers just before 9.30am on Saturday.

The two-hour hearing took place in private, as is normal in Spain where only trials are open to the press and public. As a result it was not immediately clear if Mr Gardiner had agreed to be questioned by the investigating judge. Formal charges in Spain are not laid until shortly before trial.

The suspect is thought to have been officially declared an “investigado” after his court appearance, which literally means he is being formally investigated on suspicion of a crime.

Mr Gardiner, a father of two, has been remanded in custody.

A court official later said: “Fuengirola Court of Investigation Number Two, acting as a duty court and at the request of state prosecutors, has ordered the remand in prison of the man arrested in the early hours of yesterday morning (Friday) following the death of a man in the town.

“He is being investigated at this stage on suspicion of a crime of murder.”

Mr Gardiner was wearing jeans and a T-shirt which appeared to be stained.

The Pog bar in the Spanish resort of Fuengirola where John Pender was fatally stabbed.
The Pog bar in the Spanish resort of Fuengirola where John Pender was fatally stabbed.

Mr Gardiner, a chef at a well-known holiday resort on the Costa del Sol who lives in Mijas, near Fuengirola, said nothing as he was led away by police.

Mr Pender, from Shankill in South Co Dublin, died after he was apparently stabbed with a broken bottle while using the toilet in a bar called Pogs Old Irish Rock Pub

Police said the Irishman was attacked after asking a man to stop bothering his wife and the partner of a friend he was with.

Police passing by the pub where the assault occurred just before 2am on Friday tried to save Mr Pender’s life but he died shortly after he received his injuries.

Mr Pender was on holiday with his wife and their two adult children.

A spokesman for Spain’s National Police said after the arrest: “National Police officers have arrested a 49-year-old British man in Malaga in the early hours of this morning over his suspected involvement in the death of an Irishman at a pub in the town .

“The victim received cuts to his neck and other parts of his body with a broken beer bottle.

“Police have established from inquiries that the victim and attacker didn’t know each other.

“The victim was allegedly attacked by surprise in the men’s toilets.

Police said the man suspected of carrying out the stabbing tried to flee the scene but was stopped from doing so by security staff and subsequently arrested.