Police are scrambling to move an investigation forward that left a 24-year-old waitress dead in Nicosia, with the family’s lawyer accusing cops of double standards.
The accident took place ten days ago in Strovolos, at a café restaurant on Tseriou Avenue, when Odysseia Iakovou Taylor was working her shift on a busy Saturday noon. At one point, she went to get juice from the pantry room and was crushed by metal shelves that fell on her.
The family’s lawyer is accusing the police of double standards, citing the fact that no arrest had been made in Odysseia’s case while two doctors in Larnaca were immediately taken into custody following the death of a 10-year-boy at the Emergency Room.
“Police used double standards,” the lawyer said, adding that while police arrested two doctors on suspicion of gross negligence, they failed to arrest anyone in Odysseia’s case even though the evidence is even stronger.
“Not only did they not arrest anyone or take him to court to remand him, but they haven’t even taken a deposition from him and you can imagine how crucial time can be in an investigative process,” he said.
Police say they were saddened by the incident and were making every possible effort to investigate the case thoroughly.
Lawyer says the scene has been altered and is asking police to hand over any reports they have so far
As for the two Larnaca doctors, police had previously admitted that handcuffing the medics to take them to court was not necessary.
But the lawyer is not satisfied with the response.
He says the scene has been altered and is asking police to hand over any reports they have so far, including the final report on Odysseia’s death.
The staff at the restaurant reportedly had complained about the shelves not being affixed to the wall, which could be a violation of labour standards that carry a fine up to €80,000. But media reports later suggested the shelves had been nailed to the wall but not in a safe way.
According to local reports, the shelves jammed the door which was shut, leaving Odysseia helpless inside the pantry, while the café was packed on a typical noon Saturday.
But her colleagues noticed her absence not immediately but several moments later, according to reports, when they realised she had been stuck inside.
Forensic pathologist Sofocles Sofocleous determined on Monday that Odysseia suffocated to death when the weight of the shelves caused her to have a collapsed lung.
Family lawyer remains suspicious
The lawyer representing Odysseia’s family remains suspicious over the police not questioning those responsible immediately after the incident.
He suggested to local reporters that those responsible could have received legal advice and even compared notes ahead of time about what they might say in a future deposition.
Odysseia had started the job in early April and her older sister was also working there, according to reports, that also say the young woman was married to a refugee from Zimbabwe.
The couple, who had known each other since childhood, also had a 2-year-old daughter. The victim’s husband, Henry Taylor, told reporters that Odysseia had changed jobs in order to be able to spend more time with her child, as both parents work odd hours and hardly saw each other.