Family pays tribute to Irish man fatally stabbed in Spanish bar

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

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

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


The family of an Irish father-of-two who died after being stabbed with a broken bottle in a bar in Spain say they are heartbroken over his death.

John Pender (53) from Shankill, in south Dublin died in the early hours of Friday morning last after he was apparently assaulted in the Pogs Old Irish Rock pub in Fuengirola in Spain.

Leigh Anthony Gardiner (49), a chef from Britain appeared in court in Spain on Saturday after being arrested on suspicion of murdering Mr Pender.

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

The suspect is thought to be under formal investigation on suspicion of a crime. Mr Gardiner, a father of two, has been remanded in custody.

Mr Pender, an acupuncturist who also worked at a Dublin suicide charity, was allegedly attacked in the toilets of the pub while on holidays in Spain. His wife works at the same charity,

The incident is understood to have taken place after Mr Pender asked another man to stop bothering his wife and a friend’s partner.

In a death notice on the website Mr Pender’s family said: “He will be sadly missed by his loving and heartbroken wife, children, Dad, brother Stephen and sister Christine.”

The notice adds Mr Pender, originally from Deansgrange, Dublin died tragically and suddenly while on holidays.

His funeral arrangements are being finalised and are due to be announced in a couple of days.

The Department of Foreign Affairs refused to comment on this specific case but said repatriations of the body of an Irish national to Ireland “can take seven to 10 days, although they often take longer”. The department is liaising with the Pender family.

A member of the public who offered her condolences on the website said: “Such a terrible thing to happen to a fine young man. A gentleman. RIP John.”

The Suicide or Survive charity Mr Pender worked with for several years said in a Facebook statement: “The Board of Suicide or Survive, its management and staff, and its close knit family of supporters deeply regret the loss of their beautiful friend and colleague, John Pender, husband of our founder and chief executive Caroline McGuigan.”

“John’s sudden and tragic death has shocked us all and the loss of his huge presence leaves an immense void in our lives.”

“We extend our love and support to Caroline, Conor and Amy and the extended family, as they seek to come to terms with this devastating news. Ar dheis De go raibh a ainm.”

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.