Cyprus Mail
Crime

Tensions high at Larnaca murder hearing

File photo: CNA

Police clashed with relatives of murder victim Panagiotis Christodoulou, 38 on Thursday when they began attacking suspected killer Giorgos Xiourouppas after he walked into the Larnaca–Famagusta courtroom.

Although Xiourouppas, 45 was supposed to answer the charges – a total of nine, which include premeditated murder and illegal possession of a gun on April 25 this year, his defence requested more time to study the witness material.

The hearing has been postponed to June 7.

Although scheduled to begin at 9am, the hearing was delayed for an hour as police conducted a full body search on everyone who entered the courtroom including relatives and journalists.

Amidst tight security both within and outside the courtroom with both officers and members of the riot squad who wore bullet proof vests, Xiourouppas, was brought into the courtroom surrounded by police. He too wore a bulletproof vest.

Christodoulou’s relatives then began yelling “you’re a killer, you’re a murderer” with some proceeding to attack him and hit the back of his head.

Police tried to break up the chaos and at the same time, more relatives who were outside were struggling with police as they tried to enter the courtroom.

Christodoulou’s mother called him a “murderer and a cold blooded killer” while she continued to shout “do you have a right to kill? Do you have a right to take people’s souls?”

After the court proceedings were done and Xiourouppas was taken outside, relatives began to attack him again hitting the back of his head. Several of them fell to the ground after clashing with police, some at risk of being trampled.

Police used a spray to break apart the clashes after relatives literally jumped on Xiourouppas while he was on the stairs.

The suspect had bad blood with Christodoulou, who had four children under the age of 18.

The victim was arrested a few days prior to his death for drug possession and believed Xiourouppas had ratted him out to police.

On April 25, the two men had a row in a bar where the suspect was allegedly carrying a gun. Xiourouppas, who was allegedly very angry went to another bar and sometime later Christodoulou walked in.

The court previously heard Xiorouppas walked right up to Christodoulou, who stood up on seeing him but the suspect began shooting from a one-metre distance. Even after the victim was on the ground, Xiourouppas continued to shoot.

Christodoulou took eight bullets to different parts of his body.

Xiourouppas fled the scene and was caught several hours later by an off-duty officer near the crossing to the north at Kato Pyrgos in the Tylliria area.

 

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