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Paphos: Witnesses testify in Briton’s hit and run death

May 14, 2019 at 12:22pm
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The trial into the hit and run death of British tourist Robert James Birch in Coral Bay continued in the Paphos Criminal Court on Tuesday with testimony from two witnesses for the prosecution.

Demetris Ilitzides, 35, has pleaded not guilty to manslaughter. He has also pleaded not guilty to the attempted murder of his friend William Pritchard on June 24, 2018.

The two men were on foot when they were hit by a car which was later found abandoned in at Ayios Georgios fishing shelter. Birch died and Pritchard sustained serious injuries.

Two people, a man and a woman, were seen exiting the car and later spotted walking along the road.

The driver was arrested and initially charged with premeditated murder. The charges were then amended to manslaughter. The woman was arrested but later released after nothing incriminating was found against her.

Prior to the incident, the two Britons had intervened to help the woman who was being assaulted by the defendant at a pub.

Testifying for prosecution on Tuesday were Marios Nicolaides and Kyriakos Matsis.

Nicolaides told the court that as he was going home from the restaurant where he worked at around 2.58 am, he saw two injured individuals on the Ayios Georgios avenue in Peyia. One was on the road, unconscious and the other was trying to help him.

The witness contacted a friend who called an ambulance which arrived in five to 10 minutes. Nicolaides said he did not know what preceded the injury of the two men.

The second witness told the court he had been contacted by Nicolaides about the two injured Britons and called an ambulance. When he went to the scene he heard one of the two saying they had been hit by a car.

The trial continues on Tuesday, May 21. The defendant remains in police custody. The prosecution plans to call 43 witnesses, 10 of whom are police officers, and a number of others who were at the same pub as the two Britons and the defendant.

Police have already submitted as evidence the head lamp of the vehicle, part of the vehicle and samples from tests carried out by the state lab and the Cyprus Institute of Neurology and Genetics.

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Trial for Coral Bay hit and run resumes