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Double murder suspect kept changing his story court told

The scene of the double murder in Strovolos (Christos Theodorides)

Loizos Tzionis, 33, the suspected mastermind behind the botched robbery and brutal murder of a couple last April, was described by interrogators as being “in conflict with the truth” during his interrogations, police sergeant Savvas Sammoutis told Nicosia criminal court on Monday.

The trial on the double murder of Giorgos Hadjigeorgiou, 60, and his wife Dina Sergiou, 59 in Strovolos, Nicosia on the night of April 18-19, reconvened on Monday for the cross-examination of police sergeant Sammoutis, a witness in the trial within a trial ordered by the court on November 28.

This had been called to assess claims by Tzionis’ defence that his client had been pressured by police to give statements in the first stage of interrogations while suffering from drug withdrawal symptoms.

Referring to the early stage of interrogations, Sammoutis said on Monday that Tzionis was constantly changing scenarios regarding over had happened and who had murdered the couple, to the extent that the interrogators had said that “Loizos Tzionis is in conflict with the truth.”

Sammoutis told the court that there were constant changes in his mood during interrogations, and that he would often lose his patience when asked specific questions.

Tzionis initially implicated two other brothers in the case, alleging they had threatened him with a gun, before changing his tune and naming one of his co-defendants, Marios Hadjixenophontos as the perpetrator, before changing his statement yet again and naming his half-brother and co-defendant, 23-year-old Lefteris Solomou.

Tzionis had also pleaded guilty to the main charges initially and appeared in court without a lawyer but later changed his plea and then asked for legal representation.

Sammoutis testified that during the interrogations, Tzionis constructed a story to direct police towards the idea that Solomou was the main agent of the murders, adding that as he told this version, Tzionis would appear deeply agitated, as if “it wasn’t easy giving up his brother”.

Tzionis had told interrogators that Solomou was wearing his clothes on the night of the murder due to financial difficulties, Sammoutis said, adding that Tzionis had claimed that he had cut his hair to look like his half-brother, so that police would arrest him and not Solomou.

The trial’s hearing on Friday was disrupted when Solomou broke down, claiming that Tzionis had falsely implicated him in the crime.

Tzionis’ girlfriend Sarah Shams, 21, his half-brother Lefteris Solomou, 23, and 22-year-old Marios Hadjixenophontos, who are also on trial for the same case, have also denied all the charges including premeditated murder, conspiracy to commit murder, conspiracy to commit felony, burglary, robbery and abduction.

Sammoutis’ cross-examination was scheduled to continue on Thursday morning, while the trial is also scheduled to continue next Thursday.

 



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