Larnaca court on Monday ruled that all six suspects being held for the bloody Ayia Napa contract killings of businessman Phanos Theophanous Kalopsidiotis and three others, will be held at Nicosia Central Prisons until their trial on September 5.
Kalopsidiotis, along with police officer Elias Hadjiefthimiou, 46, his wife Skevi, 39, and the couple’s two children were having dinner at the Stone Garden restaurant when two gunmen stormed in with pistols and automatic weapons, spraying the area with bullets. Kalopsidiotis, the police officer, his wife and suspected Albanian gunman Jani Vogli were all killed in the attack that took place in the heart of the busy popular resort.
The six face a total of 26 charges committed between May 8 and June 27 in Ayia Napa and Nicosia. These include conspiracy to commit a felony, premeditated murder, attempted murder, illegal possession and transportation of a firearms, theft, arson and being accessories after the fact.
Wanted Albanian Aleks Burreli, who is still at large and may have fled to the occupied north soon after the murders, is believed to be the other shooter who escaped the scene.
Marios Christodoulou, aka ‘Bennis’ 38, Ayia Napa cabaret owner Panayiotis Pentafkas, 39, Sophia Gregoriou, 29, and Serbian national, Loy Dejan 42 were apprehended following testimony police secured after the arrest of the other two suspects, 30-year-old Sotiria Neophytou and her neighbour Charalambos Andreou 32.
Andreou and Neophytou are suspected of harbouring and assisting the escape of Burreli. The others are believed to have brought the gunmen to the island, supplied the weapons used for the hit, and planned and facilitated his escape.
The court decision comes after defence lawyers of the two accused women had objected Thursday to their being held before the trial and had requested they be freed on bail. Gregoriou’s legal representative argued she was the least involved of all suspects in the case. He had explained she was physically and psychologically disturbed by the whole affair, due to suffocating pressure exerted on her since her detention, which required constant psychiatric monitoring.
Reading his decision for about 50 minutes, the judge referred extensively to testimony secured from Andreou which made extensive reference both to his involvement in the murders and the role played by each of the defendants.
According to the judge, Andreou had told police that after the murder, while rushing to the escape vehicles, Aleks Burelli, whom he described as terrified, had said to Christodoulou in reference to Vogli that “I killed him, I killed him, I shot the bullet.”
The judge’s decision also referred to the testimony of Neophytou in which she essentially admitted to certain events in Andreou’s statement.
He also brought up testimony of a witness who said three people had entered the restaurant, two of whom had their faces covered.
Gregoriou, like last Thursday, could not stand upright to follow the process and was given permission to sit.
Police secured the building and searched everyone entering and leaving the courtroom, while all the blinds were lowered blocking any possible view from the outside.