Cyprus Mail
Crime Cyprus

Witness implicated defendant as organiser of Napa murder

A witness for the prosecution in the ongoing trial over last summer’s gangland rubout in Ayia Napa sought to convince the court on Thursday that one of the defendants was indeed implicated.

Taking the stand on Thursday, witness Alexis Mavromichalis named defendant Marios Christodoulou as organising the hit, saying he knew the defendant well.

Mavromichalis said he and Christodoulou had been close friends in the past, but then had a falling out. But because of their prior relationship, he was in a position to be acutely aware of Christodoulou’s activities and intentions.

The court allowed the witness’ testimony over objections from Christodoulou’s lawyer that it was based on hearsay and mere suspicion.

Three people were shot dead while having dinner at the Stone Garden restaurant on the evening of June 23 last year: businessman Phanos Kalopsidiotis, police officer Elias Hadjiefthymiou, 46, and his wife Skevi, 39.

Four persons – Marios Christodoulou (Benny), 39, Panayiotis Pentavkas, 38, Loy Dejan, 42, and Sofia Gregoriou, 28 — are on trial, charged with premeditated murder and conspiracy, among others.

According to Mavromichalis, Christodoulou had been out to get both him and Kalopsidiotis.

He told the court that the late Kalopsidiotis had even obtained video footage of the arrival of two assassins – both Serbs – who had initially been contracted to kill the businessman.

It was Christodoulou who picked up the two Serbs in his car, and also Christodoulou who had handed money to a certain warden so that the latter would pay for the assassins’ airfare to Cyprus.

Mavromichalis said he was warned by police about the arrival of the two Serbs.

That operation was called off; and as it turned out, the two men who actually carried out the hit last June were Albanian nationals.
One of the shooters, Yiani Vogli, was also killed in the incident, while a second Albanian national, Aleks Burreli, who took part in the shooting is still at large.

Of the defendant Panayiotis Pentavkas, the witness claimed that both he and Kalopsidiotis had always suspected that Pentavkas was the mastermind of the murder of five people, again in Ayia Napa, in 2012, as well as being behind the murder of Kalopsidiotis’ father in 2014.

The witness said also he believed that Christodoulou had been behind a rocket attack against him in Nicosia in 2015, when Mavromichalis’ bodyguard was killed.

The hearings in the trial continue on Friday.

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