British man hit murdered Bali policeman on the head with binoculars during fight: Lawyer

Briton David Taylor being escorted by Indonesian police officials at a police station in Denpasar, Bali, on Aug 19, 2016.
Briton David Taylor being escorted by Indonesian police officials at a police station in Denpasar, Bali, on Aug 19, 2016.PHOTO: AFP

DENPASAR (AFP) - A British man accused of murdering a policeman on Indonesia's Bali island hit the victim in the head with binoculars during a struggle on a beach, his lawyer said on Monday (Aug 22).

David Taylor claims he was pushed by Balinese traffic policeman Wayan Sudarsa, which led to the struggle, and he hit him after his Australian girlfriend pulled at the officer in a bid to break up the fight, the lawyer said.

Mr Sudarsa's battered body was found in the early hours last Wednesday on Kuta beach, a popular tourist spot in southern Bali. Taylor and the Australian woman Sara Connor were arrested two days later.

They were named suspects over the weekend, a step in the Indonesian legal system that means the authorities believe they have enough evidence to consider filing charges, and could face up to 15 years' jail if found guilty of murder.

The couple have so far given often contradictory and confusing accounts about last week's events, but before police questioning on Monday, Taylor's legal team promised he would tell "the honest story".

After the interrogation in the Balinese capital Denpasar, Taylor's lawyer Haposan Sihombing said his client had become involved in a late-night confrontation with Mr Sudarsa.

He and Connor had headed to the beach late on Tuesday. But Mr Sihombing said Connor lost her bag, and Taylor approached Mr Sudarsa on the beach to ask if he had seen it.

"After that, the police officer pushed him, kept pushing him," the lawyer said, adding that they then began wrestling on the beach.

As the fight played out, Connor pulled at the policeman from behind in an attempt to separate them and Taylor spotted binoculars around Mr Sudarsa's neck, said Mr Sihombing.

"He saw a pair of binoculars on the victim's neck - those were the binoculars that David used to hit the head of the victim twice," the lawyer said.

During separate questioning earlier on Monday, Connor claimed she saw Mr Sudarsa lying face-down on the beach and when she approached to ask whether he had seen her bag, the victim bit her on the leg, according to lawyer Erwin Siregar.

He said that she maintained her innocence.

Bali, a pocket of Hinduism in Muslim-majority Indonesia, is a popular tourist destination known for its tropical climate and palm-fringed beaches.

Petty crime is common, but murders are rare.