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Expert witness questions whether dogs caused woman’s death

file photo

Pathologist Marios Matsakis on Wednesday said the fatal injuries of 46-year-old Petrana Milchova Nikolova, believed to have been mauled to death by Rottweilers in last February, may have been inflicted on her in another location from where she was found.

Matsakis took the stand before the Paphos criminal court as a defence witness in the trial into the death of Nikolova in Yeroskipou.

He attended the post mortem on March 2, 2018 on behalf of the defendant, Marios Panayiotou, 28, whose dogs are believed to have mauled Nikolova to death in February 2018.

Matsakis told court he had also visited along with state pathologist Nicolas Charalambous the area where Nikolova was found heavily injured, in a field in the Germanina area of Yeroskipou.

An initial autopsy said she had been injured by farm equipment. Four later post mortems said she was mauled by dogs.

He told court that it had been obvious that the victim had been attacked by a dog or dogs but that for some of her injuries it cannot be proven with certainty that they were caused by dogs. It therefore could not be ruled out  that they may have been caused by a machine.

Matsakis told court that the severity of the wounds on the woman’s body did not match the scene where she was found as there should be more blood. He added that the injuries on the woman’s skull did not seem to have been caused by dogs.

He said it was very difficult to match bites to animals since special training and methods were necessary.

“I do not rule out that Petrana was bitten by dogs, but there is also the possibility of a farm machine to have ripped her flesh apart before she was bitten by dogs,” he said.

He added that the findings do not convince him that the whole incident took place where the woman was found.

“Perhaps the deceased was transferred there wrapped up (in cloth),” Matsakis said, adding that this is one scenario.

He also said that state pathologists ought to give their independent opinion and not be affected by the police investigators.

He referred to cases where state pathologists tried to satisfy the interrogators and, as a result, they made errors and delivered the wrong findings.

The 28-year-old was the one who had found Nikolova heavily injured near his auto repair garage and had called the ambulance. She died on her way to hospital.

Panayiotou, who was keeping five Rottweilers in cages outside his garage, told court that on that day, he had set two of his dogs loose for a while and that he had called them in and put them back into their cages without noticing anything suspicious in their behaviour. He also told court his dogs were socialised and not aggressive.

He is facing manslaughter, causing death by negligence and putting human lives at risk by recklessly failing to protect the public was arrested and then released last May on €100,000 bail. He has only pleaded guilty to charges concerning owning dogs without a permit.

 

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