A British musician has been found dead after he was allegedly beaten and thrown into a river in Georgia.
Five people have been arrested on suspicion of murder after the body of Thomas Kennedy washed up in the Mtkvari river near Gori on Friday.
Local reports say the 28-year-old, who lived in Ireland, had been drinking with a group of men three days earlier when the mood turned violent, and he was attacked.
His unconscious body was then reportedly thrown in the river.
Police arrested the five after they found Mr Kennedy’s mobile phone had been pawned, and his wallet was missing.
The five appeared in court on Tuesday, where four were accused of murder and the fifth was charged for failing to report the crime.
They were denied bail by the Gori District Court.
Mr Kennedy arrived in Georgia on 30 August on holiday, the Mtavari TV channel reported. Other reports have said he was studying at a local music college.
According to Irish broadcaster RTE, Mr Kennedy was born in Manchester but lived in County Mayo all his life, with his Irish grandparents.
His family told RTE he was a talented musician and a regular busker in Cork when he was in college.
A GoFundMe campaign has been launched to bring Mr Kennedy’s body “to his beloved home of County Mayo”. People have donated €35,000 (£30,000) so far.
Olivia Barrett said she wanted to bring his body home “as soon as possible”, but there were issues with COVID-19 restrictions.
Ms Barrett wrote on the page: “On Friday the 9th of October our beautiful Tom was found in Mtk’uari River in Georgia. He died brutally and tragically at the hands of five evil men.
“We are absolutely devastated there are no words, life will never be the same again without our beautiful talented boy.
“It is currently very difficult to repatriate Tom home due to the Covid19 restrictions, so we are setting up this GoFundMe Page to raise funds to bring Tom home as soon as possible, this is costly, and with the help of the Kevin Bell Repatriation Trust, we will get him to his beloved home of County Mayo.
“Our aim is to raise money in order to fund the expenses associated with Tom’s passing. These include but are not limited to repatriation, funeral cost, and for Tom’s family to travel to Georgia to see the Criminal Trial of his death.”
A spokesperson for the Foreign Office said: “We are in contact with the local authorities following the death of a British man in Georgia and are providing support to his family.”
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