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Army bobsleigher dies in disco attack

INNSBRUCK, Austria -- A member of the British army's bobsleigh team has been kicked to death in an attack by a gang outside a disco in Austria.

The Ministry of Defence said up to 10 people were involved in the attack on the 31-year-old man and a fellow team-mate in Innsbruck in the early hours of Sunday.

The dead soldier was later named by the MOD as Corporal Derek Osbourne, from Barrow-in-Furness, Cumbria. He was married with a young child.

His team-mate escaped with only minor injuries.

The soldiers, who were not in uniform, were in Innsbruck to compete in the bobsleigh championships in Austria.

An MOD spokesman said: "A member of the British army has been killed in Austria today.

"Two soldiers were attacked by a group of six to 10 people.

"The Austrian police are investigating the incident and are appealing for witnesses."

Austrian police said the soldier, who served in the Kings Own Royal Border Regiment, based at Catterick, North Yorkshire, was kicked and stamped to death outside the Antico disco in Innsbruck following an argument.

Marius Meisinger, duty commanding officer at the town's police headquarters, said the culprits were still being hunted.

"At 3.30 a.m. (0230 GMT) today there was a quarrel between two British men and a group of men, thought to be Turkish or Yugoslavian, outside the Antico disco.

"The group of six or seven people attacked the British men and one of them fell down and was lying on the ground.

'Kicked in head'

"Next the gang kicked him in the head and stamped on his head with their feet.

"They only attacked his head, so he was very badly injured. The other had only minor injuries.

"We have no idea what the quarrel was about at this stage."

Bystanders called paramedics and police to the scene and both men were taken to the University Clinic in Innsbruck.

"Unfortunately the British citizen, a member of the British bobsleigh team, died in hospital at 11am."

Meisinger added: "The gang of men left the location of the crime in a white van soon afterwards.

"Our officers were not able to catch them at the scene and we are still looking for them.

"At the moment the information we have is that the two British men were in the disco on their own, although it is possible there was a third.

"Perhaps, there was an argument inside the disco which continued afterwards or perhaps it started outside.

"At the moment we don't know the cause. The witnesses who were there have been interviewed but can't tell us anything more."

Cpl Osbourne, was in the mortar platoon, and had competed in the bobsleigh event for the Army for two years.

"Detectives from our criminal investigation department are investigating the crime but have not arrested anyone yet."



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