Cyprus Mail
Crime Cyprus

Life for Ayia Napa murder suspect (Updated)

The Ayia Napa restaurant where Kalopsidiotis was gunned down

A 32-year-old man was sentenced to life imprisonment on Monday in connection with a gangland shooting that resulted in the deaths of four people in Ayia Napa in June.

The Famagusta Criminal Court jailed Charalambos Andreou for life while Sotira Neophytou, 30, got five months.

The two defendants had admitted their involvement in the shooting that took place in a busy restaurant.

Four other suspects implicated in the case — Marios Christodoulou (Benny), 39, Panayiotis Pentavkas, 38, Loy Dejan, 42, Sofia Gregoriou, 28 — are awaiting trial for the same case.

Businessman Phanos Kalopsidiotis, police officer Elias Hadjiefthymiou, 46, and his wife Skevi, 39, were gunned down while having dinner at the Stone Garden restaurant on the evening of June 23. One of the shooters, Albanian Yiani Vogli, was also killed.

A second Albanian national, Aleks Burreli, who took part in the shooting, is still at large.

The couple’s two children, 15 and 12, were also present but they escaped unharmed.

Andreou had pleaded guilty to 20 charges, including premeditated murder and conspiracy to commit murder.

Neophytou, his partner, admitted to being an accessory after the fact.

The two Albanians entered the restaurant at around 10pm and opened fire, killing Kalopsidiotis and the couple. They also seriously injured a second police officer who had been sitting at the table.

Vogli was killed in the exchange of fire that followed.

Two days later, police were told that one of the shooters was hiding in a flat in Aglandjia, Nicosia, owned by Neophytou. The tip said the man was aided by Andreou. Officers however, did not find anything at the scene. Andreou and Neophytou denied any involvement.

Three days later, Neophytou implicated Andreou during a voluntary statement she gave police.

Andreou then admitted his involvement, telling police that on the instruction of a third individual, since May, he had been providing food and lodging to the two Albanians, and facilitated their movement.

He also said he collected a pistol and an assault rifle and gave them to Vogli and Burelli, initially to kill three different persons – Alexis Mavromichalis, Iosif Iosif, and Christos Demetriou.

That hit however, was cancelled because Mavromichalis was in Greece.

Andreou also said that in mid June he had been instructed to transport the two to Protaras. Andreou knew about the car they were planning to use and the getaway plan.

The defendant told police that he was the one who drove the two hitmen to the restaurant that night.

The court decided that Neophytou’s participation in the case had been limited. On June 24, after she found out what had happened the previous night, she asked Andreou to move Burelli from her flat, and accompanied during the drive to an abandoned building at the hotel school in Nicosia.

The court heard that Neophytou did not know any of the other defendants, apart from Andreou, with whom she had been involved with for the past six years.

She was sentenced to five months in jail, starting from June 27, when she was placed in custody.

Both defendants wore bulletproof vests during the procedure. Armed officers were present inside and outside the courthouse.

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