THE mother of a British Army sportsman kicked to death outside an Austrian disco spoke of her anger last night after members of a Serbian gang accused of his murder were freed.

Police had accused five men of murdering Corporal Derek Osborne, who died last month after he was attacked by the gang in Innsbruck, where he had been competing in the Army bobsleigh championships.

But prosecutors have now recommended a lesser charge of grievous bodily harm leading to death, after hearing claims that Cpl Osborne and two friends may have been involved in an earlier fight with the men inside the club.

The decision led to the five men being freed and has infuriated Cpl Osborne's grieving mother, Barbara, who condemned the "kangaroo court" ruling of the Austrian authorities.

She told The Northern Echo: "We can't let them get away with this - it is just horrendous, totally horrendous.

"It has been like a kangaroo court over there and to let these people walk the streets is just shocking.

"I can't believe it, but I have got to fight on for the sake of his memory."

Judge Dr Klaus-Peter Gosch said the fight inside the club could have meant the Serbian gang had been provoked.

Grievous bodily harm carries a minimum one-year prison sentence, instead of ten years on a murder charge, and the lesser offence meant the men could be freed.

Cpl Osborne, 31, of the King's Own Royal Border Regiment, based at Catterick Garrison, North Yorkshire, left a widow, Amanda, and seven-month-old son, Scott.

Functions held in Austria have since raised £10,000 for his family, but Mrs Osborne said she was now unsure about whether they could go back there.

She said: "The Mayor of Innsbruck has asked my daughter-in-law to go over there and receive this cheque but I don't know what's going to happen now. How can we let her go over there when they could still be stood there watching her and the baby?

"We are all still devastated. It is not something you get over overnight and it has all being thrown back in our face now."