Family of Irish dad, 53, killed in unprovoked stabbing at Spanish bar say they're 'heartbroken' after British suspect appears in court

Family of Irish dad, 53, killed in unprovoked stabbing at Spanish bar say they're 'heartbroken' after British suspect appears in court

THE family of an Irishman who was stabbed to death in an unprovoked attack at a pub in Spain last week have said they are "heartbroken" by his loss.

Dublin dad-of-two John Pender, 53, died in the early hours of Friday morning after he was stabbed with a broken bottle in the toilets of Pogs Old Irish Rock Pub in Fuengirola, near Malaga, on the Costa Del Sol.

Leigh Anthony Gardiner, a 49-year-old British chef, was remanded in custody on Saturday as he appeared in court for the first time since his arrest on suspicion of murdering the Irish tourist.

Mr Pender had been holidaying with his wife Caroline McGuigan – founder of charity Suicide or Survive – and their two children Conor, 21, and Amy, 18, at the time of his killing.

He was a qualified acupuncturist who trained in China and was also on the board of his wife's suicide prevention charity.

His death notice, posted on over the weekend, reads: "PENDER John (tragically and suddenly while on holidays in Spain) (late of Shankill, Dublin 18, and formerly of St. Fintan’s Villas, Deansgrange) June 21st, 2019.

"Beloved husband of Caroline (McGuigan) and loving dad of Conor and Amy, son of Sean and the late Bernadette.

"He will be very sadly missed by his loving and heartbroken wife, children, dad, brother Stephen, sister Christine, brothers-in-law, sisters-in-law, uncles, aunts, nephews nieces, relatives, neighbours and a large circle of friends.

"Funeral arrangements to be finalised, please re-check RIP.IE on Tuesday June 25th, 2019."

'Immense void'

In a statement, Suicide or Survive said: "The Board of Suicide or Survive, its management and staff, and its close knit family of supporters deeply regret the loss of their beautiful friend and colleague, John Pender, husband of our founder and CEO Caroline McGuigan.

"John’s sudden and tragic death has shocked us all and the loss of his huge presence leaves an immense void in our lives.

"We extend our love and support to Caroline, Conor and Amy and the extended family, as they seek to come to terms with this devastating news. Ar dheis De go raibh a ainm."

Following the arrest of British expat Gardiner on Friday, a Spanish National Police spokesperson said: "National Police officers have arrested a 49-year-old British man in Malaga in the early hours of this morning over his suspected involvement in the death of an Irishman at a pub in the town.

"The victim received cuts to his neck and other parts of his body with a broken beer bottle.

"The suspect tried to flee the scene afterwards but was stopped from doing so by security staff and subsequently arrested by police in the area."