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Court hears suspect’s conflicting statements in Aphrodite’s Rock death

ÐÝôñá ôïõ Ñùìéïý
Petra tou Romiou, Paphos

Paphos district court on Tuesday renewed the remand of the 31-year-old suspect in the case of Lesya Bykova’s death for three more days, pending the outcome of a second autopsy performed on the body.

The 28-year-old Ukrainian woman was found dead near Petra tou Romiou (Aphrodite’s Rock) on March 11.

Her partner was arrested following the results of the first autopsy, which concluded there were signs of sexual abuse and strangulation.

The court on Tuesday ruled that not renewing the remand could adversely affect the investigative work of police as the suspect could influence witnesses from whom statements are expected to be taken, or destroy evidence that is being sought.

There is also the possibility of him fleeing to areas not controlled by the Republic, it added.

According to head of the investigation Kyriakos Charalambous, the charges the 31-year-old faces at this stage are premeditated murder, rape, femicide, sexual abuse by penetration, forced sexual penetration, kidnapping and giving false information to the police.

Charalambous told the court that when officers arrived at the scene, the suspect showed them four different spots from where the victim allegedly fell, which had a considerable distance between them.

Initially, the 31-year-old indicated a point from which he claimed he climbed through to reach the beach, which he said was very steep, but then changed his tune to say that he did not remember the exact point from which he climbed up and down.

He added that in his statement the suspect had said the victim was taking photos of the view, when previously he had said she was trying to take a selfie.

He also told the police that he left his phone to charge in his car while he went to the restaurant at Petra tou Romiou, which contrasted his official statement, where he said that he went to his workplace in Timi and then to the house of his work supervisor.

Charalambous said that on March 18 a new statement was taken from the suspect, who continued to plead innocence for the offences under investigation, also making additional allegations that will be investigated.

lesya
Victim Lesya Bykova

So far, he added, police have received the results of tests performed at the state lab, which showed that both the suspect and victim had traces of alcohol and cocaine in their blood, but are still awaiting the outcome of the examinations being carried out on additional pieces of evidence, as well as the forensic reports from both post mortems.

The second autopsy was carried out on Wednesday by Greek medical examiner Chara Spiliopoulou in the presence of state pathologists Angeliki Papeta and Orthodoxos Orthodoxou, and former state pathologist Marios Matsakis representing the 31-year-old suspect.

Matsakis also conducted investigations at the scene of the alleged crime, inspecting the clothes of both the suspect and the victim.

The court heard the police are also expecting an analysis of telecommunications data between the two, in addition to CCTV footage from the site.

The suspect’s lawyers Christos Hadjiloizou and Alexandros Alexandrou did not object to the police’s request for a second statement from the suspect.

In court, the examiner of the case also said that from March 11, when the case was reported to the police, until March 13, when the first arrest warrant was issued for the suspect, 15 statements had been taken and the autopsy had been performed.

To date, another 33 statements have been taken and two investigations have been conducted, alongside a psychiatric examination of the suspect, and CCTV checks from five premises tracing the couple’s route.

In addition, Charalambous said that before Spiliopoulou began the second post mortem, at the request of the defence attorneys, the suspect was examined on March 14 by Matsakis, in the presence of Papetta and Orthodoxou.

He noted that all evidence was inspected by all four medical examiners, while additional evidence was also received and sent for scientific examination.

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