By Peter Stevenson
THE CRIMINAL Court convened in Larnaca on Wednesday to hear the facts in the case of the 33-year-old man who has pleaded guilty to the manslaughter of Panayiotis Stavrou, 54, over a property dispute in the village of Kofinou on March 23.
Prodromos Hadjipanayi had originally been charged with premeditated murder, a charge that carries mandatory life imprisonment if found guilty. The charge was changed after a plea bargain.
State prosecutor Elena Zachariadou presented the facts after the defendant pleaded guilty to nine charges including manslaughter, and attempted murder last week. Hadjipanayi was charged with the attempted murder of brothers Adamos and Panayiotis Lambrou and Katerina Hadjikoumbarou as well as possessing an AK47 assault rifle.
Zachariadou described how the 33-year-old had been arrested on the old road between Athienou and Aradhippou near the exit for Avdelloros after he had been involved in an accident. Police had found him injured inside his car with the rifle cartridge he had used during his shooting spree in Kofinou.
“I’m not well, I’ve killed five people,” Hadjipanayi told officers after he was arrested, the court was told. “Whatever I did was from my heart, my soul is now at ease, they had broken me.”
Asked by investigators why he went on to shoot the Lambrou brothers after he had killed Stavrou, Hadjipanayi said they were the ones who had persuaded Stavrou into purchasing the Turkish Cypriot house that he was interested in buying himself.
According to the records, the defendant later changed his stance towards Stavrou’s relatives.
“I ask for everyone’s forgiveness, my mind was clouded. I pray that the lady (Hadjikoumbarou) gets better. It was not premeditated because if it was I would have taken the gun with me,” he said.
Stavrou’s widow and children were also in court and once proceedings were finished attempted to attack the defendant. They then verbally attacked his lawyer, Efstathios Efstathiou.
The next hearing will be on July 15.