Monday 16 December 2019

Brazil nightclub fire: Club owner 'tries to kill himself' while in police custody

THE co-owner of the Brazilian nightclub where a fire left 235 dead has reportedly tried to commit suicide while in police custody.

Elissandro Spohr, 28, was arrested by police investigating the blaze at Kiss nightclub in Santa Maria, in the south of Brazil.

Mr Spohr was detained in hospital in the nearby city of Cruz Alta, where it is understood he tried to take his own life before being stopped by officers.

Inspector Marcelo Arigony from the Civil Police in Santa Maria said: "He is OK and has now been handcuffed to the bed to avoid further attempts."

Police officer Lylian Carús told the Brazilian website G1: "He says he no longer has the will to live. He doesn't think he can bear the weight of this tragedy on his shoulders."

Doctors said he was suffering from depression and was "emotionally compromised".

Spohr can be held by police for five days and was arrested along with his business partner Mauro Hoffmann and two members of the band Gurizada Fandangueira, the band that was performing when the fire started.

He has received a campaign of abuse online from friends and relatives of the victims, who have taken to the streets to demand answers over the tragedy and tighter controls for nightclubs.

No charges have yet been brought but conviction for voluntary manslaughter carries a penalty of up to 20 years in prison in Brazil.

Donna Bowater

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