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Court hears suspect deliberately ran over two Brits

Killed, Charlie Birch

A police officer investigating a fatal hit and run in Paphos last year was told by a passenger in the suspect’s car that he had run over two British men deliberately, the Paphos criminal court heard on Tuesday.

The authorities have a charged a 35-year-old Georgian man with manslaughter in the death of British tourist Charlie Birch, 39, in what is believed to be a deliberate assault following an altercation at a bar. The defendant was also charged with attempted murder against a second Briton, 32, who was with Birch that night.

A police officer told the court on Tuesday they had located the defendant and a girl near the Ayios Georgios harbour following the incident.

The girl told the officers “he deliberately ran them over with the car,” the court heard.

Defence attorney Savvas Matsas disputed the statement, arguing that the officer did not even have a notepad with him at the time.

The officer responded that he was capable of remembering two-three phrases of those involved in such a serious incident.

Earlier, a bar owner and his son who works there, told the court that the defendant had argued with the two Britons, forcing them to throw all three out.

Both witnesses said the three men had had quite a lot to drink.

Matsas said his client had been provoked by the two Britons but did not respond, even after he was beaten by one of them. The defendant tried to grab the girl’s arm to get out of there as that was his only objective, the lawyer said.

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

At around 2.30am 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 32-year-old, whose condition was not life-threatening, said later he believed the driver had run them down deliberately.

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 believe the suspect dumped the car in the sea in 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 trial continues on June 4.


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