THE trial began in Larnaca on Friday of Panayiotis Alexandrou, the third man accused of involvement in the killing of Daniela Rosca from Moldova, last year, who has also been identified by the other two witnesses as the instigator of the attack
Alexandrou’s trial was earlier postponed so sentence could be passed on Plamen Pelov and Daniel Slatchev who admitted to the November 2015 killing of Rosca, in her flat in the Makenzie area of the seaside town.
The two Bulgarian nationals, who admitted to five charges including manslaughter and conspiracy, and who have now turned state witnesses, were jailed for 13 and 10 years, respectively.
Alexandrou, 26, from Livadia is facing similar charges to which he pleaded not guilty in July.
During Friday’s hearing CID officer Neophitos Theodosiou appeared as a prosecution witness, reading a statement to the court.
The policeman said he was informed on November 1, 2015 of a murder having been committed in a flat in Tuzhane street in the Makenzie area, where upon arrival at the scene he was given the responsibility of collecting evidence.
In his statement Theodosiou said he entered the apartment where he found the victim with her hands tied behind her back with obvious blows to the head, and transferred the body to the morgue at Larnaca General Hospital. He said he retrieved evidence from the apartment, questioned Slavchev and visited various locations that were indicated by the Bulgarian.
Theodosiou referred to the items which Pelov and Slavchev had taken from Rosca’s apartment and burned along with some of their own clothes, adding that the black piece of string used to tie the victim’s hands behind her back was from a black shopping bag.
He also told the court that Slavchev led them to a total of 14 scenes related to the case and that Pelov pointed out 13.
The policeman then submitted 90 items concerning the case as evidence. Among these were hairs from the left hand of Rosca, the piece of black cord obtained from the woman’s tied hands, clothes and underwear worn by her, and DNA cheek swabs from the victim and Alexandrou. Also among the evidence was the broken lock that was removed from the flat, hairs from the carpet, grey matter from the sofa and the wooden coffee table in the living room, several USB memory sticks, a laptop computer and the cover of a cushion found on the head of the dead woman.
Burnt items found in a wooded area near Koshi where they were buried by Pelov and Slavchev were also submitted, these included an iPad and two mobile phones belonging to Rosca, pieces of burnt and unburnt solid paraffin firelighters and burnt mobile phone and electricity bills.
The hearing continued with the submission as evidence by prosecuting lawyer, Thanasis Papanicholaou, of documents showing, in Greek and Bulgarian, the scenes pointed out by Pelov and Slavchev.
Finally, around 300 photographs taken by the police showing the area and scene of the crime, Rosca’s autopsy and the area where the burnt items from the flat were found were also submitted.
Some items taken as evidence, such as a GPS device from Rosca’s vehicle, the carpet of the living room on which there were traces of the woman’s blood and the shovel that Pelov and Slavchev used to bury the burnt objects taken from the apartment were not presented in court as they were still in the police forensic laboratories.
Defence lawyer George Georgiou requested that he be given the results of various evidence, like the memory sticks found in Rosca’s flat and the GPS from her car.
Judge Stalo Hadjiyianni set the next hearing for December 19 and ordered Alexandrou remain in custody at the central prisons.
Police originally investigating the case were led to the other two after arresting Slavchev in June this year when Pelov returned to Cyprus after hearing he was sought by police as he had left the country two days after the killing.
Police issued a European arrest warrant prompting him to contact investigators from Bulgaria saying he would hand himself in, which he did on June 25.
Larnaca police were led by Slachev to a spot in the Koshi area where the two mobile phones and the iPad belonging to Rosca had been buried along with a shirt, gloves, and two passports. Clothes worn by Slavchev and Pelov on the day of the killing were also discovered.
Slavchev told detectives after his arrest that he and Pelov were acting on the instructions of Alexandrou who allegedly orchestrated the killing, as he believed Rosca had been involved in stealing €25,000 from his parents’ house after he had ended a relationship with her.
Slavchev and Pelov were allegedly ordered to break into Rosca’s apartment and force her to hand over the money.
On entering the flat, Slavchev claimed he saw Pelov, clad in a hood and gloves, holding a woman whose face he couldn’t make out, from behind.
He maintained he saw Pelov move the woman to another room, pushing her to the floor and repeatedly kicking her in the neck and back before using a shoelace, which he said he also touched, to tie the woman’s hands behind her back. He then pushed a pillow against her face to stop her from screaming.
Slavchev told police the pair then took the mobile phones and iPad before fleeing the scene.
According to police, cheek swabs taken from the Slavchev matched DNA found on the shoelace.