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Three men jailed over manslaughter of British man at Malaga Airport

Three men have been jailed for two and a half years after admitting the manslaughter of a Brit found dead on a Malaga Airport bench with ham on his buttocks and his genitals shoved inside an empty tuna can.

Irishman James O’Byrne, 59, from Cork, was one of three men convicted of killing Steven Allford, 51.

Two Finns – named as Jussi Petteri Munck, 41, and Mika Tapio Soininem, 48, also confessed to the Londoner’s manslaughter after striking a plea bargain with prosecutors.

Steven Allford, 51, a homeless man, was found dead at Malaga Airport in October, tied to a bench and stripped from the waist with ham on his buttocks and his genitals in a tuna can

State prosecutors were seeking jail sentences of three years for manslaughter for each of the three men ahead of trial.

They were also seeking a further one-year prison term on a charge of submitting Mr Allford to degrading treatment.

The trio were handed prison sentences of two years for the first crime and six months for the second as part of the plea bargain deal.

Vagrant Mr Allford was discovered lying face down on a bench outside Malaga Airport early on October 21, 2016.

He had been tied to the bench in a landscaped area near the arrivals lounge and a busy train stop and his trousers had been pulled down round his ankles.

A slice of ham had been left on each of his exposed buttock and his genitals placed inside an empty tuna can.

A post-mortem revealed he choked to death on his own vomit after a heavy drinking session.

Initial fears Mr Allford’s death could be a hate crime based on the fact he might have been homeless, but that gave way to a new theory as the investigation advanced which shows he was targeted in a row over food.

Police were told he had fallouts with other men sleeping rough at Malaga Airport because he was mean about sharing food and drink with them but always expected a portion of theirs.

O’Byrne, who like the other suspects slept rough in Spain, was arrested in the port city of Algeciras an hour and a half’s drive from Malaga after Spanish police were handed an incriminating video recorded by one of the suspects and posted on Facebook.

Fellow rough sleepers Jussi Petteri Munck, Mika Tapio Soininem and James O'Byrne have admitted his manslaughter

Fellow rough sleepers Jussi Petteri Munck, Mika Tapio Soininem and James O’Byrne have admitted his manslaughter

Santiago Calvo Cervera, the judge who sentenced the men at a criminal court in Malaga, said in a three-page ruling that it had been proved the accused had tied Mr Allford to the bench despite his drunkenness.

He added: ‘They didn’t just tie him to the bench, something which Mr Munck checked had been done, but they filmed Mr Allford and were also laughing about his temporary helplessness.

‘They ended up putting a lit cigarette in his mouth after having put it in his buttocks and introduced his naked testicles into an empty tuna can.

‘They acted as if they were narrating a news report and posted the video on to the Facebook of Soininem, the person who filmed what was happening.

‘When they had had a good laugh, they left Mr Allford to his fate. 

‘Because of his drunkenness, and because of the fact it was almost impossible for him to move because of the plastic ties, he would end up dying after choking on his own vomit, something the accused could have easily avoided with a call to make sure Mr Allford received medical attention.’

Little is known about Mr Allford’s life and why he ended up sleeping at one of Spain’s busiest holiday airports, although it is believed he was adopted as a youngster and had served time in prison in France and Spain.

He had only been in Spain for about a week before he died after a brief spell in the UK and was thought to be trying to sort out proper accommodation away from Malaga Airport.

A source close to the case said before his killers were sentenced: ‘The images show the victim was alive when the humiliation began.

‘Steven was tied up and in the same position he was found in hours later in the footage, lying face-down on the bench, but he could be seen moving his head slightly.

‘The video was posted briefly on Facebook and shared by a Finnish user who later took it down, but only after police in Finland had got hold of it and downloaded it so they could pass it on to counterparts in Spain.

‘It was bombshell stuff and key to the investigation and prosecution.’