By Peter Stevenson
GIORGOS Andreou, 35, pleaded not guilty at the Criminal Court which convened in Larnaca yesterday to the premeditated murder last month of Pantelis Ropas.
Andreou from Xylofagou is accused of murdering 66-year-old Ropas, from Sotira, who had been sitting with a colleague outside a taxi office on Nissi Avenue in Ayia Napa when he was gunned down in broad daylight on October 8.
Andreou denied the charge of premeditated murder brought against him by state prosecutor, Andreas Aristeidis.
The state prosecutor told the court that the defence’s case would be based on the CCTV footage obtained by police which show the movement of the suspect’s vehicle on the day.
The footage is currently being worked on by the criminal investigation services and officials require three weeks before a report can be prepared on the events, Aristeidis said.
The court hearing will take place on December 4, and Andreou will remain in custody at the central prisons until that date.
The incident took place at around 12.45pm on Tuesday, October 8 on Nissi Avenue in Ayia Napa while Ropas was sitting with a colleague.
The victim’s colleague allegedly recognised the suspect as the man who arrived in a twin cab pickup and shot Ropas twice with a hunting shotgun before fleeing the scene. According to doctors at the clinic in Ayia Napa where the victim was taken, he was wounded in the chest, neck and hands and his death was instantaneous.
Police searched the suspect’s home, finding three hunting shotguns, one in his name and two on his father’s. Inside Andreou’s vehicle, police found a spent cartridge. Police suspect the killing was the result of professional or family differences between the two. One of Ropas’ four sons was married to the sister of the suspect but they separated recently and the two families have been at loggerheads since, reports said.