Man held over death of father in Spain
A man from Somerset was released on bail last night after being questioned on suspicion of killing his father in a fight at a Spanish campsite.
Ian Bennett, 45, was arrested on Friday in L'Estartit, a seaside town on north-east Spain's Costa Brava, after allegedly attacking his father, Douglas Bennett.
Police said he had been taken before a judge and bailed while the investigation continues.
Mr Bennett senior had been staying in a mobile home on a campsite with his wife Gloria and his son and his wife, Louisa. All are said to be from Chard.
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The 69-year-old was taken to Josep Trueta Hospital in Girona on Friday, but failed to emerge from a coma and died shortly after being admitted, triggering a murder investigation by Catalan police.
An autopsy was due to take place to investigate suspicions that he died from a punch to the head or possibly from a head injury sustained while falling.
Speaking to the Mail on Sunday, his brother Bob, 61, said: "Doug and Ian were so close it was unreal. I have no idea what could have sparked this. I'm absolutely speechless."
He said that he and his brother had not been in contact much following family difficulties, but he could not imagine why he would be assaulted by his son.
"He was still my brother and I'm very sad to hear about his death," he told the newspaper. "I don't know whether it might be relevant or not but Ian was very ill about 20 years ago when he had some sort of mental breakdown."
Another sibling, Douglas Bennett's younger sister, Valerie, 47, added: "All we know is Doug is dead and Ian has been arrested. I'm stunned."
Local reports said the incident took place at the Castell Montgri campsite. Sources said Ian Bennett was under the influence of alcohol at the time of the incident, which in Spanish law would count as an attenuating circumstance should the case go to trial.
Shaun Jackson, 66, a neighbour of Mr Bennett senior, told the Sunday Mirror: "Ian is a lovely bloke and in all my time I've never seen any arguing so I would put my money on this being a horrible accident."
Another neighbour, who wished not to be named, told the Mail on Sunday: "I just cannot believe it. We were told there had been a fight between Doug and Ian. It would be so totally out of character for both of them. They're a very close, quiet family."
She said the men, who both worked as builders and lived a mile apart, had a very friendly relationship. She said: 'The two of them got on very well. They would go out for a drink together at the weekend and were always laughing and joking with one another. I just cannot think of anything which would lead to a row, let alone punches being thrown. They just weren't like that."
A police spokesman said: "The incident took place Friday morning at around 1.45am in a camping site in L'Estartit when the arrested man is believed to have attacked his father. The victim was taken by emergency services to hospital to be attended for the wounds he suffered, while local police in Torroella de Montgri arrested the alleged perpetrator for domestic violence. The victim died Friday morning and investigators from the Mossos d'Esquadra (Catalan regional police) took on the case."
Police were alerted by the site's night security guard, the El Punt Avui newspaper's website said. When emergency services arrived they found Mr Bennett unconscious on the ground next to a pool of blood. He was taken to hospital with "severe head wounds" and other injuries but doctors were unable to save him.