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Tuesday, 2 January, 2001, 16:53 GMT
UK rower charged over killing
Tideway Scullers Club in London
Tideway Scullers club members were training in France
A British rower has been charged with "voluntary homicide" in France, after his club's president was killed.

Former Olympic rower and renowned designer, Marcello Minale, 58, died after being stabbed following an argument on Saturday in the car park of the Montauroux rowing club in southern France.

Alex Lombardo, a 23-year-old university student, believed to be from the London area, is now in a remand prison awaiting trial after appearing before a French public prosecutor, the Foreign Office said.

Former Olympic rower Marcello Minale was stabbed to death
Murder victim Marcello Minale
Italian-born father-of-three Mr Minale - who won an Olympic silver medal for Italy in 1960 - was stabbed at about 1600 GMT.

The father-of-three was leading a group of 28 rowers from London's Tideway Scullers School on a training trip on Lac de St Cassien, 12km west of Cannes, when the incident happened.

Alec Hodges, coach at Tideway, in Chiswick, west London, said Mr Lombardo was a student at Reading University and had been a club member for several years.

The club's chairman Chris Williams said he was "shocked" by the news.

"Details are very sketchy, but it seems there was an argument in the course of which Marcello got killed.

"We have no idea why it happened, or what caused the trouble.

"Our thoughts are with Marcello's family."

'A great designer'

Mr Minale had become an internationally renowned designer after founding design consultancy Minale Tattersfield in 1964.

It now has 18 branches worldwide with a head office in Richmond, Surrey.

Mr Minale, who has published eight design books, has won awards from the Designers' and Art Directors' Association, London, and from the Art Directors' Club of New York.

Alex Maranzano, managing director of Minale Tattersfield, paid tribute to his colleague of the last three decades.

Ealing home of Marcello Minale
Italian-born Mr Minale lived in Ealing
"It's the end of an era. He was a great designer and set very high standards of creativity.

"I can't find the right words to express how good he was. He always moved on and never stood still, always stretching the boundaries."

He said Mr Minale regularly went rowing on the river before work.

"It didn't matter what the weather was like, he was very keen and would always go out."

Mr Maranzano said he had visited his colleague's wife and youngest son on Monday.

"They are in a hell of a state, as you can imagine."

Brian Tattersfield, who founded the company with Mr Minale but retired five years ago, said he was "deeply shocked" by his former business partner's death.

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