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Couple offer new details in Ayia Napa slaying trial

An Ayia Napa couple offered their account on last year’s gangland-style slaying in their town, as four defendants sat in the courtroom next to heavily armed police officers.

The trial in the high profile underworld killing case, which began last month, continued on Friday in Famagusta Criminal Court, with evidence giving more background just before and right after the crime.
Police officer Makis Nicolaou submitted about 250 pieces of evidence, including ballistic data, bullets, cartridges, and shrapnel from the scene of the crime, where 51-year-old local businessman Phanos Kalopsidiotis was gunned down with others at a restaurant in June 2016.

Off-duty policeman Elias Hadjiefthymiou and his wife Skevi, aged 46 and 39 respectively, were also killed. Two Albanian hit men are believed to have carried out the killing, with 41-year-old Ganis Vogli being fatally shot by 49-year-old compatriot Aleks Burelli, who still remains at large.

But testimony from the Ayia Napa couple, Theoklitos and Monica Panayi, gave more details relating to the events of June 23 and after midnight on June 24.

The local man, who owns leisure boats in the area, told the court that his residence is very close to the field where the burnt getaway car was spotted in the early morning hours.

He said at 10:30pm he was in his basement fixing a boat, when he heard “a loud noise, spinning tyres of a motorbike coming from the Larnaca-Paralimni highway.”

The man then saw two people wearing dark clothes, no helmets, and riding big motorbikes, starting and heading towards the Ayia Napa roundabout.

He then told the court that 45 minutes after midnight, he heard 5 to 6 gunshots and immediately went out to the balcony where his wife was sitting, and they both saw black smoke of about 1 to 1,5 metres in diametre.
“Then I heard a loud boom like a bomb and then it was on fire,” he told the court.

Five minutes later he called police and was told other people had already phoned in the incident. He then went near the burning car where other people had gathered as well.

The man’s wife, who is from Poland and living in Cyprus since 2004, told the court she heard around 10:30pm the noise of a closing car door. She had look from the balcony and saw on Kataspilon Street the front side of a car and the back lights of another vehicle.

She then saw a man wearing dark clothes getting inside the first car and then both cars moving at a very slow speed. She then added that the two cars had stopped at a dirt road leading to her house, referring to the point just before the highway exit.

Two minutes later, as the wife told the court, she saw one car driving towards Ayia Napa at low speed, thinking to herself it might have been one of the two cars she had seen moments earlier.

She then said that just before 11:30pm she was told by friends that “Phanos Kalopsidiotis and some other people had been murdered.”

The trial continues with the next hearing set for March 7.

The defendants are 42-year-old Loy Dejan, Marios “Benny” Christodoulou aged 39, Panayiotis Pendafkas aged 38, and 28-year-old Sofia Gregoriou, all of whom face various murder charges and illegal possession of firearms.

A Nicosia man has already been sentenced to life imprisonment, admitting to his role in the killings.

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