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Man confessed to killing Thanasis Nicolaou, lawyers claim (Updated)

Thanasis Nicolaou whose body was discovered in a ditch in 2005
Thanasis Nicolaou

The inquest into the death of National Guard officer Thanasis Nicolaou, whose lifeless body was found under a bridge in Alassa in 2005, continued on Monday, as the legal service representative Xenia Xenophontos questioned forensic pathologist Dimitra Karayianni regarding her examination of Nicolaou’s hyoid bone, which was sent to Greece for specialised tests.

The inquest on Monday lasted around five hours.

Prior to proceedings, according to reports published on the same day of the inquest’s resumption, Nicolaou’s family lawyers disclosed to the court that an individual had informed the police that a certain person, along with accomplices, admitted to assaulting and ultimately killing the guardsman.

According to the same report, the individual gave a deposition to the police in early January, during which he mentioned what he was told by the specific person, whom he also named.

Media outlet Reporter added that the legal service was also informed about his testimony and that some actions, which, however, were not yet disclosed, were undertaken by investigators involved in shedding light in the case.

The family was not officially informed of the developments by the police, nor was the coroner, as the process is still ongoing.

Nevertheless, at the beginning of Monday’s inquest, the family’s lawyers said that the new information brought to light by the deposition will require the summoning of an additional witness at a later date and behind closed doors.

Asked to comment on the family lawyers’ allegations, police spokesperson Christos Andreou said that he cannot confirm or deny anything for the time being.

“Since there is a proceeding before the court, we cannot comment on anything,” Andreou told the Cyprus News Agency (CNA).

Last month, Karayianni determined in her testimony that strangulation was the cause of death.

She examined the hyoid bone of the deceased along with fellow forensic pathologist Emmanuel Agapitos after the exhumation of the body.

During Monday’s inquest, Xenophontos asked Karayianni if she was a technical advisor of Nicolaou’s family, to which the latter said she was appointed through a specific procedure initiated by the Athens prosecutor’s office.

“We are not paid by the family. We are paid by the prosecutor’s office,” Xenophontos replied.

At some point during the proceedings, Xenophontos also asked Karayianni whether Nicolaou’s hyoid bone also presented genetic abnormalities, which she vehemently denied.

Nicolaou’s mother Andriana also intervened in this instance, saying that her child had no problem, to which the judge, Doria Varoshiotou replied that she would interrupt the procedure if it continued in such tones.

Savvas Matsas – one of the two criminal investigators tasked with shedding light on the death of guardsman – is expected to testify as a witness before the judge on Tuesday.

The court will also be called upon to decide on the request of the family’s lawyers for forensic pathologist Elpida Spanoudaki to testify, with the legal service objecting to the request.

It is worth noting that last month Karayianni revealed to the court that she and Agapitos had previously exchanged opinions and letters pertaining to the case and stressed that the latter proceeded to incise the bone in her absence.

Also, during last month’s proceedings, when asked about the bone’s abnormality, she explained that it can be linked to forced pressure, often associated with violence.

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