The three defendants in the case of missing 31-year-old Angelos Perikleous – presumed dead – pled not guilty to all charges read out to them at Nicosia criminal court on Monday.
The hearing of the case was set for September 14.
The main defendant – known in the media as “little hacker” – was stern faced and casually dressed, beside his mother and uncle. They are also facing serious, albeit lesser, charges in the case.
Allegations suggest a grisly outcome after a spat between the main defendant, aged 25, and the 31-year-old Perikleous. The “little hacker” also faces charges of possession of a weapon (understood to be a pistol), bullets, and destroying evidence. He had previously alleged that Perikleous attacked him and robbed him of a €40,000 watch and €110,000.
The 25-year-old main defendant – who faces premeditated murder charges – and his 71-year-old uncle, who faces charges of conspiracy to commit a felony and arson of a vehicle, will remain in custody until the hearing.
All three remain under the same conditions as set before, but the uncle’s defence lawyer had requested that the judge reconsider the custody of his client – suggesting that likely delays could lead to him being held for a prolonged period.
The lawyer cited his client’s age and health as factors to be considered, further arguing that it could take years for his innocence to be proven.
The lawyer argued that further complications – such as being interlinked with the main suspect – mean his client could be in custody for up to four years if the case drags on.
But after a short recess to deliberate, the judge decided against the defence lawyer’s request that the 71-year-old be released on bail of €30,000. The court had previously decided not to release the uncle on bail as there is a risk of evidence being tampered with, considering that a body has not yet been found.
The 71-year-old had previously told officers his nephew held him at gunpoint and was instructed to help hide Perikleous’ body.
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 but is free on strict bail terms.
There was a tight police presence in the Nicosia courtroom.
The Cyprus Mail previously reported that police have secured a witness against the 25-year-old, telling someone he was planning to kill Perikleous as they had personal and financial differences.
Though the suspect was initially arrested on attempted premeditated murder charges, the latest charges are 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.
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.