A 35-year-old man pleaded not guilty to premeditated murder on Wednesday in the death of a British tourist who had been hit by a car in Peyia in June, in what authorities believe was a deliberate assault following an altercation.
The defendant, a Georgian national, also denied an attempted murder charge against a second Briton. Premeditated murder carries an automatic life sentence.
The 35-year-old claims he hit the two men by accident.
The court adjourned until January 29, 2019. The man will remain in custody until then.
At around 2.30am on Sunday, June 24, police were notified that two men, pedestrians, were lying injured on the tarmac on the Peyia-Ayios Georghios road in Paphos.
On arriving at the scene, police found a 39-year-old lying dead on the ground. Next to him was another man, aged 32.
The deceased was Charlie Birch, a builder from Powys, Wales, who died from multiple injuries caused by a motorised vehicle.
His friend, a 32-year-old identified as ‘Will’ in the British press, was also injured but his condition was not life-threatening. He later told the media he believes the driver deliberately ran them down.
The car, which was driven by the suspect who also had his girlfriend with him, was later found abandoned at the Ayios Georghios harbour. It was in the sea and had to be pulled out by the fire service.
The suspect and his girlfriend left the harbour on foot and were picked up on the road shortly afterwards by police.
Police suspect that dumping the car in the sea was an attempt to conceal evidence.
Before the incident, there had been an altercation at a bar in Coral Bay during which the two Britons reportedly tried to defend the woman, who was allegedly being abused by the suspect.
The couple then left the bar and drove off. The two British tourists left later.
Police initially arrested the 23-year-old woman but she was released later as no incriminating evidence turned up against her.
Police said she would likely be called as a prosecution witness in the murder case.
The woman has provided information that corroborates testimony incriminating the suspect.
She told police that in the car on their way toward the Ayios Georghios harbour – after hitting the two British men – her boyfriend told her that he did not kill the two tourists but only injured them.
She said he also told her they were the same two men with whom he had had an altercation earlier in a bar.