Cyprus Mail

Not guilty to manslaughter plea after Welsh tourist ran over

Victim Charlie Birch

A 35-year-old man pleaded not guilty to manslaughter on Tuesday of the death of a British tourist hit by a car in Peyia in June, in what authorities believe was a deliberate assault following an altercation.

Demetrios Elidzides, a Georgian national, also denied an attempted murder charge.

The defendant was formally charged anew on Tuesday after prosecutors decided to downgrade a premeditated murder charge to manslaughter.

The court adjourned for March 19.

The incident took place in the morning hours of Sunday, June 24, 2018.

Police said they had received a call at 2.30am informing them 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 39-year-old Charlie Birch lying dead on the ground. Next to him was his injured friend,32.

Birch, a builder from Powys, Wales, died from multiple injuries.

His friend told the authorities he believed the driver had 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.

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 case.

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