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Briton and Australian girlfriend arrested for death of cop in Bali

Indonesian police said yesterday that a Briton flew into a rage and repeatedly hit a Bali police officer over the head with a beer bottle after accusing him of being a "fake cop".

Traffic policeman Wayan Sudarsa was found dead last week with wounds to his head and neck on a popular beach on the island.

David Taylor and his Australian girlfriend Sara Connor were arrested and have been named as suspects, a step in the Indonesian legal system meaning investigators believe they have enough evidence to consider filing charges.

Taylor, a DJ, admitted in questioning on Monday to having had a fight with Mr Sudarsa on the beach after accusing him of stealing Connor's bag.

He hit the officer with bottles, binoculars and a phone after being pushed, said his defence lawyer.

Giving his account of how the fight began, Denpasar police chief Hadi Purnomo said Taylor had "searched the victim, accused him of being a thief and called him a fake cop even though he was wearing a uniform".

Taylor got "mad" and they started to fight on the beach, with the Briton repeatedly hitting the policeman's head with a bottle until it broke, Mr Purnomo said.

"David was hitting violently, in a rage, with the bottle," he added.

Connor, a mother of two from New South Wales, Australia, has maintained her innocence, saying she only sought to separate the fighting men.

But Mr Purnomo said yesterday that he believed she had taken part in the killing.

A day after the policeman's body was found, the couple checked out of their hotel and burned their clothes, the police chief said.

They had initially tried to deny any confrontation with Mr Sudarsa and had offered a series of confusing and contradictory accounts of what had happened, he said.

The couple could face up to 15 years in jail if found guilty of murder.

Bali, a pocket of Hinduism in Muslim-majority Indonesia, is a popular tourist destination.

Petty crime is common there, but murders are rare.

- AFP

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