Less than a week after a Greek court cleared him of murder after leaping with his two children from a fourth-floor hotel balcony in Crete, UK authorities are pressing to have John Hogan transferred to a British psychiatric hospital.
The 33-year-old former tiler, whose tragic tale of depression, psychosis, marriage meltdown and the death of his son climaxed with an electrifying trial in Crete last week, could be back in Britain within days. In his first in-depth interview, the eminent Greek clinical psychologist Ioannis Nestoros, who has been treating Hogan, said: ‘There are international agreements by which John can be transferred to the UK, and his lawyer tells me the British government has requested that he be returned to a psychiatric hospital there.’ He added that Hogan’s family – his mother, Josephine, moved out to Greece shortly after the tragedy – supported the request.
Nestoros described the move as ‘the best possible scenario’ for the Briton, who has spent the past 16 months in the psychiatric wing of Athens’ notoriously inhospitable Korydallos prison. Much, he said, would depend on whether Hogan was up to traveling and how much of a suicide risk he presented.
‘It would be better for John if he were treated in England. It won’t be so easy to find a hospital in Greece that will be willing to accept somebody who remains such a suicidal risk,’ said Nestoros, one of the world’s leading experts in the field of psychosis. ‘We must not forget that this is a man who has sentenced himself to death many times. His is a very challenging and rare case.’
The Crete court accepted that Hogan had been in the throes of an ‘explosive psychotic episode’ when he grabbed his two children and jumped from the balcony on the night of 16 August 2005. Moments earlier his then wife, Natasha, announced that she wanted a divorce during the couple’s make-or-break holiday on the Mediterranean island.
Hogan’s six-year-old son Liam died almost instantly of head injuries sustained in the 50ft fall, but his daughter Mia landed on top of him and suffered only a broken arm. Now aged four, Mia lives with her mother, who has since married a former nursing colleague, Richard Visser.
But while Nestoros said the outcome of the trial had been ‘the very best result’ for Hogan, he said it could take years for his patient to recover.
‘John has been, and remains, one of the most challenging cases I’ve ever had. After all these months of intensive treatment and care he is still on the highest dosage possible of anti-psychotic, anti-depression and anti-anxiety medication.’
Just keeping him alive ahead of the trial had been a ‘huge task’, said the physician, who was cross-examined for nearly three hours during the two-day trial. Despite being on suicide watch and supervised round the clock, Hogan had tried to kill himself repeatedly, on one occasion slashing his wrists so deeply it was thought he would not survive.
‘This is a man who has been very keen to kill himself because he honestly believed that, that way, he would join Liam. For months, he sat on his bed crying, devising ways to commit suicide, trying to understand what happened and how he could have done what he did to his beloved son,’ Nestoros said. ‘Once, after a therapy session, when I asked him to show me how he might commit suicide, he decided to come clean and we were all absolutely amazed. There in his cell was a paper cup brimming with pills, several piece of broken glass, iron bits, sharp tin openers, anything that he could harm himself with.’
The Briton, who was due to be transferred from Crete back to the psychiatric wing at Koyrdallos prison, has signaled that he is now determined to have contact with his daughter.