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Is this justice? - Just two-and-a-half-years for Charlie death

Created on 18/07/2019 @ 16:45
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The Georgian national who killed Welshpool man Charlie Birch in a “hit and run” incident has been jailed for just two and a half years by a Cyprus court.

The Paphos Criminal Court sentenced 35-year-old Demetris Ilidzides to two and a half years in prison for causing the death of father-of-two Robert James (Charlie) Birch, 39, through reckless driving last year in Peyia.

He was also sentenced to one year in prison for injuring Birch’s friend William Pritchard in the same incident. Both sentences will run concurrently. The court also ordered that his driving licence be revoked for a year.

The court said the fact the defendant was under the influence of alcohol was not a mitigating factor but that it took into consideration that he immediately admitted to the offences. His clean criminal record was also taken into account.

Ilidzides was initially charged with premeditated murder, which he denied. He pleaded not guilty again in January after the charge was downgraded to manslaughter, claiming he hit the two men by accident.

He admitted earlier in the month to causing death through reckless driving without deceit, and culpable negligence, injuring Mr Pritchard and abandoning the scene, after prosecutors withdrew manslaughter and attempted murder charges.

It was the second time since Ilidzides’ trial started in September last year that prosecutors amended charges in a case which is widely believed to have been a deliberate assault following an earlier altercation.

Ilidzides’ lawyer tried to secure a suspended sentence during mitigation, arguing among other things that his client was drunk during the incident and that this had a taken a toll on his concentration, perception and assessment of danger.

He also said his client immediately admitted to the charges following amendment and that this stemmed from real remorse.

The incident took place in the morning hours of Sunday, June 24, 2018.

At around 2.30am police were notified that two men, pedestrians, were lying injured on the ground along the Peyia-Ayios Georghios road. On arriving at the scene, officers found the 39-year-old Mr Birch lying dead on the ground. Next to him was his friend Mr Pritchard, who had been injured.

Before the incident, there had been an altercation at a bar in Coral Bay during which the two Britons reportedly tried to defend a woman – his girlfriend 23 – who was allegedly being abused by Ilidzides. She was not charged in the case.

The car they were both in was later found abandoned at the Ayios Georghios harbour. It was in the sea and had to be pulled out by the fire service.

The pair had left the harbour on foot and were picked up on the road shortly afterwards by police.  Police had suspected that dumping the car in the sea was an attempt to conceal evidence.


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