POLICE officers stood smoking just yards from where a Sheffield teenager lay dying, a harrowing eyewitness account of his final moments reveals today.
Student Matthew Cryer - who would have celebrated his 21st birthday today - died at the foot of a steep flight of stairs at the Cocktails and Dreams nightclub in Laganas, Zante.
The account of how police stood smoking cigarettes while he died comes from a Swedish tourist - who also revealed Greek police ignored her repeated pleas to administer first aid.
Greek authorities had claimed Matthew fell down the steps and choked on his own vomit - but a coroner ruled he had been unlawfully killed after hearing he had been beaten up by bouncers and thrown down the steps.
Now eyewitness Linda Bergland has told Interpol officers investigating the death that she believes police could have saved 17-year-old Matthew’s life - if they had acted.
Miss Bergland saw Matthew lying at the bottom of the steps - and said tourists tried to revive the teenager as police officers simply looked on. An ambulance took up to an hour to arrive.
She said: “They just stood there smoking while watching his death. Several times people rushed to them and asked for first aid help, and asked where the ambulance was, but no response.
“The personnel from Cocktails and Dreams did not react either.
“By now Matthew had lost several litres of blood and was blue in the face and lips.
“The Greek police stood passive. The club personnel did not help him, and the ambulance came after 50 or 60 minutes which is scandalous.
“If the police and ambulance had reacted immediately he might have had a chance, but it was obvious to all of us that they didn’t care.”
Matthew’s mum Joanne Cryer said the witness statement is yet another account which confirms how badly the police reacted on the night her son died.
“This backs up what we already knew,” she said. “We heard accounts like this at the inquest. One girl said she had pleaded with police to take her statement after she saw how Matthew had been beaten up by the bouncers, but they refused.
“There is more evidence still to be translated from Greek which we hope will have information within it.
“How long can they ignore this?
“Three years is a long time, too long. Last week a new investigating magistrate was appointed and we are hoping things will get moving at last.”
Sheffield Wednesday fan Matthew, who grew up in Frecheville and Killamarsh, was on his first foreign holiday without his parents when he died.
Dad David Cryer and mum Joanne have campaigned for justice since his death.
A post mortem examination in the UK showed Matthew had died from a head injury which could not have been caused by a simple fall. He had sustained 20 separate injuries and his body was covered in bruises.
Acting North East Derbyshire coroner Dr Robert Hunter ruled Matthew had been unlawfully killed after witnesses said he had been beaten and then dragged downstairs by bouncers at the club.
Three years on, the bouncers allegedly responsible are still at large - and the nightclub is still open for business.
Now the family’s solicitor in Zante has obtained a copy of the statement given to Interpol officers by Miss Bergland.
It is part of a bundle of evidence which has been submitted to the new investigating magistrate in Zante.