BALI, Indonesia – A British man arrested in the killing of a police officer on the tourist island of Bali confessed to bashing the Indonesian man with a beer bottle and leaving him unconscious, police said Tuesday. His lawyer said he didn't realize the officer would die.
David Taylor and his Australian girlfriend, Sara Connor, were arrested Friday, two days after the bloodied body of traffic police officer Wayan Sudarsa was found on the beach outside the Pullman Hotel in Kuta, a popular tourist area. Connor's handbag was found nearby.
The couple had been drinking beer on the beach in the hours before the late-night encounter.
Denpasar Police Chief Col. Hadi Purnomo said Taylor, 45, admitted getting into a fight with Sudarsa after Connor realized she had lost her handbag and accused the officer of stealing it and being a fake police officer.
Purnomo said the dispute escalated after Taylor tried to search Sudarsa, who pushed the British man to the ground.
Taylor's lawyer, Haposan Sihombing, said his client admitted to hitting the Indonesian with a cellphone, binoculars and beer bottle, but he didn't realize Sudarsa would die.
"Taylor hit the victim repeatedly with the broken bottle, leaving him face down and unconscious," the police chief said. The couple left the scene but Taylor returned and turned over the body of Sudarsa, who was still unconscious, he said.
Sihombing said Connor, 33, tried to help Taylor during the fight, but her lawyer, Erwin Siregar, said she denies being involved.
"She insists that she was not involved with the murder at all. She saw from behind that Taylor hit the victim, but she did not know what he used to hit," Siregar said.
Prosecutors will decide charges after police submit their investigation report. A conviction for intentional murder in Indonesia has a maximum penalty of 15 years in prison.
Purnomo said Connor could be charged with aiding an assault that led to death. The maximum penalty is 10 years if convicted.