The executive branch will move to examine why for 19 years the tragic case of national guardsman Thanasis Nicolaou was not properly handled, President Nikos Christodoulides said on Sunday.

These are the first statements by the President over the case, after Friday’s landmark ruling that determined Nicolaou was killed by strangulation.

The finding overturned 19 years of authorities insisting Nicolaou committed suicide which the family ardently fighting it was a murder coverup.

Christodoulides said he spoke to both the attorney general and his deputy after the decision. “I am certain they will study the result, as they conveyed to me.

“Beyond the result [of Friday’s decision], we need to see why since 2005, 19 years, what should have been done may not have been done.”

Asked if cabinet would appoint an independent investigator, Christodoulides said “I do not rule anything out. It is tragic, 19 years.”

Christodoulides said since his appointment he has met with Nicolaou’s mother Andriana and spoken to her multiple times.

“I am in personal contact with [Nicolaou’s] mother, at a human level, if you wish. But as an executive branch we will do whatever it takes.

“Of course, the result is very important but we need to see why for all these years, everything that had to happen did not happen.”

thanasis nicolaou's family

Thanasis Nicolaou’s family, legal team and key witnesses after Friday’s court decision

Christodoulides stressed that since 2005 “you can imagine how many governments came and went.”

He added that both cabinet and himself met with Thanasis’ mother Andriana Nicolaou, after he took office.

“I personally had a meeting, away from the spotlight [with her]. It’s a tragic aspect that doesn’t lend itself to communication or exploitation by anyone.

“I met with her, and we had several calls. Bearing in mind the decision, I do not rule out anything over the next steps of the executive branch.”

Thanasis Nicolaou was found dead under Alassa bridge in September 2005. He was 26. Forensic pathologist Panicos Stavrianos ruled it was a suicide, however the family has long-argued it was a murder coverup.

Judge Doria Varoshiotou confirmed their suspicions on Friday when she accepted that there had been violence and fracture of Thanasis’ hyoid bone, adopting testimony he was strangled by a left-handed person.

Nicolaou died a day after he reported horrific bullying at this army unit, and spoke out of suspicions of drug dealing at his barracks. Court heard he feared he might be beaten in retaliation and cautioned his mother not to speak to his seniors as the people at his unit “are the type to harm you.”