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Suspect in Briton’s death admits to reckless driving, manslaughter and murder off the table

Killed, Charlie Birch

A 35-year-old man on Tuesday admitted to causing the death of a British tourist and injuring another in Peyia last year and abandoning them after prosecutors withdrew manslaughter and attempted murder charges.

It was the second time since Demetris Ilidzides’ trial started in September last year that prosecutors amended charges in a case which is widely believed to have been a deliberate assault following an altercation.

The Georgian national was initially charged with the premeditated murder of Charlie Birch, 39, which he denied. He pleaded not guilty again in January after the charge was downgraded to manslaughter, claiming he hit the two men by accident.

Premeditated murder carries an automatic life sentence while manslaughter carries a maximum of life in jail.

On Tuesday, Ilidzides pleaded guilty to causing the 39-year-old’s death through reckless driving without deceit and culpable negligence, and injuring a second man, 32.

The defendant also admitted to endangering the life of the two men, causing them serious bodily harm, by driving his vehicle in a reckless manner. He also admitted to abandoning the pair without affording them any help.

The trial continues on July 18. The defendant will remain in custody.

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

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 the 39-year-old lying dead on the ground. Next to him was another his friend.

His friend, 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.

Police initially arrested the 23-year-old woman but she was released later as no incriminating evidence turned up against her.

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