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18 July, 2024
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Inquiry raises more questions in National Guardsman's death

Uncertainties surface over potential life-born injury in hyoid bone examination


In a formal interrogation held on Thursday to determine the causes of the death of 26-year-old National Guardsman Thanasis Nikolaou, pathologist and anatomist Emmanuel Agapitos raised concerns about a possible life-born injury. The proceedings, lasting over five and a half hours, delved into the examination of the hyoid bone, with Agapitos stating, "We are not sure about a live injury, but we cannot rule out that it could have existed."

The pathologist emphasized the microscopic examination of plaques containing Thanasis' hyoid bone, noting a 3mm long defect in the left horn. Agapitos stated, "We are not sure about a life-born lesion, but neither can we rule out that it could have existed," adding that the bone deficit could also be post-mortem due to decomposition over time.

The absence of haemosiderin granules, indicating a living injury, was highlighted, but Agapitos acknowledged that their non-detection does not exclude the possibility that it existed and was absorbed over time. The examination occurred 16 years after Thanasis Nikolaou's death.

The pathologist-anatomist faced questions about the cause of the deficit in the hyoid bone, responding, "Not with certainty." Contradictions with the forensic report of Panikos Stavrianos, who found the hyoid bone normal, were addressed cautiously, with Agapitos stating, "We cannot say with certainty that his finding is wrong."

Photographs presented by the family's lawyer raised the question of neck area hypertrophy possibly caused by strangulation, but Agapitos couldn't confirm or exclude it with the naked eye.

The absence of pathologist-anatomist Demetra Karagianni during the bone examination procedure was explained, with Agapitos stating that no one excluded her, and she was informed that the slides were ready for review. He strongly reacted to reports of his involvement in other cases, claiming slander.

The proceedings are continuing today with the testimony of pathologist-anatomist Dimitra Karagianni, who represented Thanasis Nikolaou's family during the bone examination.

[Information sourced from CNA]

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