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20 October, 2019
 
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Defendant denies intent in rural Nicosia murder

Forensic pathologist insists stab wounds show premeditation in rural Nicosia murder last year

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A Georgian national who has admitted stabbing a Greek Cypriot woman to death in rural Nicosia last year says it was not premeditated, with a state forensic pathologist insisting the stab wounds say otherwise.

State forensic pathologist Eleni Antoniou testified in court on Wednesday as a prosecution witness in the trial of last year’s Marathasa killing in rural Nicosia, where defendant Giorgi Baratashvili from Georgia is facing premeditated charges.

Baratashvili has reportedly admitted stabbing to death Yianoula Hadjiyianni, a 56-year-old store manager at a grocery store in Kalopanayiotis. Hadjiyianni was attacked and killed on November 12 inside her own car outside her Oikos village in Marathasa, a quiet area in Nicosia district.

'The stab wound in the chest was fatal as the knife had pierced through the heart, while the other one shows that the accused intended to kill the victim'

The victim had picked Baratashvili up during her lunch break and gave him a ride in the backseat of her car, while another female in the front passenger seat had stepped off moments before the crime.

According to Antoniou, Hadjiyianni was attacked from behind with Baratashvili stabbing her 16 times in the upper torso and neck, while the fatal stab went straight to the heart.

“The stab wound in the chest was fatal as the knife had pierced through the heart, while the other one shows that the accused intended to kill the victim,” Antoniou said.

Photographs from the scene of the crime were shown in court along with a post mortem report, with Antoniou describing the “brutality” of the attack and highlighting two stab wounds, one in the neck and one in the heart.

“The stab wound in the chest was fatal as the knife had pierced through the heart, while the other one shows that the accused intended to kill the victim,” Antoniou said.

Defence rejects premediated claims

The defence lawyer, who cross-examined the forensic pathologist, disputed Antoniou’s conclusion of murder intent but did not question the medical findings.

Antoniou insisted on her conclusion, saying it was clear those stab wounds took place at the location of vital organs thus causing death through intent.

Media sources previously reported that the victim had only one defensive wound, suggesting she did not have time to react at the vicious attack.

Police last year said they believed robbery was a motive but it was not clear whether other scenarios have been fully ruled out during the investigation. Media reports also suggested the defendant was acquainted with the victim but the exact relationship was never clarified.

Housemaid nearby saw the whole thing

A statement from a housemaid, who witnessed the attack last year, was also read out loud in court. The Nepali national had told crime investigators that she saw the murder in broad daylight, describing in vivid detail seeing a man killing Hadjiyianni and running away.

She said she saw the perpetrator in the back seat attacking the victim, who was in the driver’s seat, stabbing her several times with a knife before exiting the vehicle, locking it, and running away. The witness also said she saw the whole thing but couldn't do anything about it.

The judge then asked the defence if their client wished to make any statements, with the attorney saying the defendant was prepared to address the court in an unsworn statement. Reports said Baratashvili did not wish to read his written statement but wanted to address the court in his own words.

Unsworn testimonies continue to be a matter of controversy within the justice system of the Republic of Cyprus, as the accused can present their version of facts without being subject to cross-examination.

The next hearing has been scheduled for October 24.

TAGS
Cyprus  |  Nicosia  |  rural  |  Marathasa  |  Oikos  |  murder  |  Yianoula Hadjiyianni  |  Giorgi Baratashvili  |  Georgia  |  Kalopanayiotis  |  premeditated  |  knife  |  stab  |  wounds

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