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Napa murder defendant changes plea (updated)

One of the defendants in the trial of the gangland hit in Ayia Napa that resulted in the death of four people has pleaded guilty to the charge of complicity after the fact, and told prosecutors she was willing to testify for the state, it emerged on Thursday.

Sofia Gregoriou, 28, is on trial with three other people in connection with the murder of businessman Phanos Kalopsidiotis, police officer Elias Hadjiefthymiou, 46, and his wife Skevi, 39, who 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, 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.

The three other defendants are Marios Christodoulou (Benny), 39, Panayiotis Pentavkas, 38, and Loy Dejan, 42, who was the businessman’s bodyguard.

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.

Gregoriou’s lawyer is scheduled to enter his mitigation plea on Friday at noon.

Following her plea, the court upheld a prosecution request to drop 13 other charges Gregoriou had faced.

She appeared in court on Thursday wearing a bulletproof vest and her lawyer said she was prepared to testify as a prosecution witness. State prosecutor Elli Papagapiou told the lawyers of the three remaining defendants that Gregoriou should be considered a prosecution witness.

On Wednesday at 2.30pm, Papagapiou said, the defendant handed over a written statement making certain claims and admitting her involvement.

The court heard Gregoriou was the person who picked up Burreli from the spot where the stolen getaway car had been torched, providing him with assistance to avoid punishment.

Prior to the shootings, Gregoriou was at the villa in Protaras with other individuals, including Burreli. Just before 10pm on June 23, she was told that they were leaving the house and also saw one of the perpetrators wielding a Kalashnikov assault rifle that was used in the shootings.

Gregoriou was told to move her car because it obstructed the one the shooters were going to use.

The court heard that one of the people involved told her to “move your car so that the others can leave because they are going to kill him.”

She waited at a field near the exit of the Ayia Napa to Larnaca motorway to pick up the shooters after the incident.

After a few minutes, the getaway car drove into the field and two people, Burreli and Andreou, came out running.

She opened the door and Burreli got in. He appeared to be in a state of confusion, continuously repeating “Mother of God what have I done, Mother of God what have I done; go! go!”

Gregoriou followed another car towards Larnaca and at some point she stopped behind it.

Burreli got out and climbed into the other vehicle, which was driven by Andreou.

She drove to Limassol, near Amathounda where she met the other car again.

Andreou drove Burreli to Nicosia and two days later to Limassol.

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