Cyprus Mail

Man pleads not guilty to premeditated murder of shop worker

The 40-year-old man suspected of killing Yiannoula Hadjiyianni, who was found stabbed to death in her car last November in Ikos Marathasas in the Nicosia district, pleaded not guilty on Wednesday to the charge of premeditated murder.

The accused’s lawyer told Nicosia criminal court that he had filed a request with the attorney-general for the charge facing his client to be changed to manslaughter.

Giorgi Baratashvili from Georgia was arrested on November 12, hours after 56 year-old Hadjiyianni was found dead in her car with stab wounds to the upper part of her body. An eyewitness placed Baratashvili inside Hadjiyianni’s car earlier on. It is believed that the man had hitched a ride with the 56-year-old knowing that she worked for a grocery shop in nearby Kalopanayiotis and that she had the store’s takings on her.

The accused had admitted to killing Hadjiyianni with a knife and stealing the money she had in her vehicle. He had initially refused any involvement in the case.

On the day of his arrest, €1,505 was found in his possession that he could not justify.

Baratashvili on Wednesday was called to answer to the charge of manslaughter which is subject to life imprisonment. Speaking through an interpreter, he pleaded not guilty to premeditated murder.

His defence told court that a request has been submitted to the AG to change the charge from premeditated murder to manslaughter.

The trial adjourned until April 8. Until then, Baratashvili will remain in custody.

Police had said they found blood on his clothes and in the bathroom of his flat in nearby Kalopanayiotis. The suspect had undergone a medical examination after his arrest and abrasions were found on his hands. Police told court that they had also recovered a pocketknife from the women’s front passenger seat, which they believe had been used to stab Hadjiyianni multiple times.

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