The 24-year-old suspect facing charges of the premeditated murder of missing 31-year-old Angelos Perikleous – presumed dead – appeared in Nicosia criminal court on Tuesday.
The diminutive main defendant – known in the media as ‘little hacker’ – listened intently as he stood, stern faced and casually dressed, beside his mother and uncle. They are also facing serious albeit lesser charges in the case.
The 71-year-old uncle faces charges of conspiracy to commit a felony and arson of a vehicle, while the main suspect’s 59-year-old mother faces charges of aiding and abetting after a crime has been committed, as she allegedly provided a false alibi for her son.
The court heard that there is testimonial material which states the motive for the murder, with the defence lawyer of both the main suspect and his mother asking for a period of one month to study the documents provided.
The defence lawyer of the 71-year-old – who previously told officers his nephew held him at gunpoint and was instructed to help hide Perikleous’ body – did not object either.
The prosecution agreed, and the judge therefore set the next hearing for July 10 when the three defendants are set to enter a plea to the charges.
Both the main suspect and the uncle are to remain in custody until the next court appearance, with the mother released on strict terms – including bail of €20,000, with a further €5,000 deposited in cash, being placed on the stop list and to present herself to the police once a day.
The judge agreed with the prosecutor that ‘little hacker’ and the uncle should remain in custody as there is a risk of evidence being tampered with, considering that a body has not yet been found.
Very few were in the tiny Nicosia courtroom but there was a tight police presence, with the main suspect – who has not been named in the media – remaining silent throughout the proceedings.
The Cyprus Mail previously reported that police have secured a witness against the 24-year-old, telling someone he was planning to kill Perikleous as they had personal and financial differences.
It is understood the suspect had recently reported that the 31-year-old attacked him in two different instances. In one of the two, Perikleous had allegedly robbed him of a €40,000 watch and €110,000.
Though the suspect was initially arrested on attempted premeditated murder charges, his latest arrest was for premeditated murder – revealing Perikleous is now considered dead.
The police issued a missing person plea for help on April 22.
A body has not yet been found despite extensive police efforts, which include vast searches across Zygi and Tochni – where Perikleous’ phone last emitted a phone signal – and later in Mari, Vasiliko and Governor’s Beach in Limassol.
The 24-year-old is also facing charges in connection with car arson, conspiring to commit a crime, illegal possession of a gun and illegal possession and transportation of bullets.
Officers have obtained evidence such as half-charred clothes that Perikleous was wearing between April 20 and 21.
Gun casings and several tools including ropes, chains and batons – believed to be linked to the case – were also uncovered.