Cyprus Mail
Crime Cyprus

Witness describes child’s screams and multiple shots in Ayia Napa murders

A witness in the gangland hit in Ayia Napa that killed four people said he heard around 30 shots being fired and a child screaming for help before seeing the lifeless bodies of the victims lying on the floor of the restaurant.

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 last year.

One of the shooters, Albanian Yiani Vogli, was also killed in the incident while a second police officer at the table sustained serious injuries.

A second Albanian national, Akeks 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.

Four suspects implicated in the case — Marios Christodoulou (Benny), 39, Panayiotis Pentavkas, 38, Loy Dejan, 42, and Sofia Gregoriou, 28 — are on trial, charged with premeditated murder and conspiracy.

Two other suspects, Charalambos Andreou, 32, and Sotira Neophytou, 30, admitted involvement in the case and were jailed for life and five months respectively in October 2016.

Testifying in court on Thursday, Charalambos Vattis, a close friend of the co-owner of the Stone Garden restaurant, said he saw Kalopsidiotis sitting at a table near the entrance with a tall man, a woman, and two children.

Two bodyguards were sitting at an adjacent table, he said. Just after 10pm, he heard three shots and saw Kalopsidiotis fall to the ground.

Vattis said he saw two hooded men standing behind the bodyguards’ table before he took cover behind a surrounding wall.

The pair had entered from different directions – one from the car park in the rear and the other from the adjacent restaurant, 10 metres away,

While on the ground he heard more shots – around 30 – and a child screaming for help.

The court heard that the shooters were not firing bursts but single shots.

“The bullets hit the floor, whistling right by me,” he said.

As soon as it was over, Vattis said he saw Kalopsidiotis and the couple who were dead, and then he saw that one of the hitmen had also been shot dead.

Nicos Papantoniou, who co-owned the establishment with Kalopsidiotis, told the court that a second police officer, Giorgos Charalambous, was also present at the businessman’s table.

The first shots were fired as soon as the party had finished eating, he said. A hooded individual opened fire from five metres away, Papantoniou added.

He too sought cover behind the wall, as the shots sent various objects flying in the air.

As soon as the shots stopped, Papantoniou said, he heard the children crying for help. He took them and led them to the back of the restaurant where his wife was.

Papantoniou said he saw officer Charalambous struggling to get up from the floor, sitting on a chair and aiming his pistol in the direction of the shots.

Papantoniou identified Dejan as one of the two bodyguards sitting at the table next to Kalopsidiotis. He said he had asked the Serb national where he was during the shooting and he replied that he was in the toilet.

The trial continues on February 16.

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