British man admits 'confrontation' with slain Bali policeman, but denies killing him

Indonesian police officers escorting Briton David Taylor (second from left), in Bali on Aug 20, 2016.
Indonesian police officers escorting Briton David Taylor (second from left), in Bali on Aug 20, 2016.PHOTO: EPA

JAKARTA (Reuters/AFP) - A British man arrested over the killing of a policeman on Indonesia's holiday island Bali says he was involved in a "confrontation" with the officer over his girlfriend's missing purse, but denies killing him, his lawyer said on Tuesday (Aug 23).

The body of Mr Wayan Sudarsa, a traffic police official, was found in the early hours of Aug 17, face-down in the sand on popular Kuta beach, with wounds to his head and neck, according to media reports.

David Taylor, 33, and his Australian girlfriend Sarah Connor, 45, were arrested last week over the killing. The pair are suspects in the case, according to police. Under Indonesian law, charges are only laid once the case gets to court.

"David maintains that he did not kill the victim, only that he was looking for (his girlfriend's purse)," Taylor's lawyer Haposan Shimbing said. "He approached the victim, checked the victim's pockets and there was a confrontation but David did not hit the victim."

However, Connor has told the police that she saw Taylor beating the officer as she searched for her purse, according to her lawyer Erwin Siregar.

"When she tried to find her lost purse, she saw David sitting on the back of the victim. And as Sarah looked past David and saw that he was beating the victim. Because she only saw him from behind, she didn't clearly see if he used his bare hands or had a tool," Mr Siregar said late on Monday.

And the Indonesian police said Tuesday that the Briton flew into a rage and repeatedly hit the officer over the head with a beer bottle after accusing him of being a "fake cop".

Giving his account of how the fight began, Mr Hadi Purnomo, police chief in the Balinese capital Denpasar, said Taylor had "searched the victim, accused him of being a thief, and called him a fake cop even though he was wearing a uniform".

Taylor got "mad" and they started to fight on the beach, with the Briton repeatedly hitting the policeman's head with a bottle until it broke, Mr Purnomo said.

"David was hitting violently, in a rage, with the bottle," said the police chief.

Taylor, who is a musician with the stage name DJ Nutzo, is scheduled to be questioned by the police on Tuesday. Connor's lawyer said she was questioned for nine hours on Monday.

Police have said the investigation could take weeks before the case goes to court.