Cyprus Mail

Benny admits Napa murder (updated)

The Ayia Napa restaurant where Kalopsidiotis was gunned down

One of the defendants in the trial for the gangland shooting in Ayia Napa last year that saw four people killed changed his plea on Tuesday and put himself at the disposal of the prosecution.

Marios Christododoulou, aka Benny, 39, has pleaded guilty to premeditated murder, which carries an automatic life sentence.  He is expected to be sentenced on Wednesday.

Christododoulou’s change of heart followed that of his girlfriend Sofia Gregoriou, 28, last week.

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.

Christodoulou and Gregoriou were among four defendants facing trial. The others are 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.

Prosecutor Elli Papagapiou told the court that they were dropping one charge, conspiracy to commit murder.

Papagapiou then read out the remaining 17 charges Christodoulou faced to which he pleaded guilty.

They include four counts of premeditated murder, two counts of attempted murder, and three counts of conspiracy to commit felony, that is, murder three other individuals – Alexis Mavromihalis, Iosif Iosif, and Christos Demetriou.

His defence lawyer, Mihalis Pikis, told the court that his client was at the disposal of the authorities to testify as a prosecution witness.

It is thought that Christodoulou has made a deal with the authorities that could see him released from prison on parole at some point in the future instead of possibly spending the rest of his life in jail.

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