Disgust as Cyprus hit-and-run driver jailed for two and a half years

The family of a man killed in a suspected hit-and-run while on holiday in Cyprus have said they are devastated after the driver was jailed for just two and a half years.

Charlie Birch, inset, and the holiday resort in Cyprus
Charlie Birch, inset, and the holiday resort in Cyprus

Charlie Birch, 39, from Welshpool, died after being hit by a car driven by Georgian national Demetris Ilidzides in the Peyia area of Cyprus in the early hours of Sunday, June 24, last year.

Mr Birch’s friend William Pritchard was also injured.

Police had investigated the incident and believed it was a deliberate attack, following an altercation at a bar where Mr Birch and Mr Pritchard had stepped in to defend Ilidzides’ girlfriend as the Georgian national allegedly abused her.

The case has seen a gradual downgrading of the charges faced by Ilidzides.

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

Then earlier this month, prosecutors withdrew manslaughter and attempted murder charges, and Ilidzides instead admitted the far less serious charges of causing death through reckless driving without deceit, and culpable negligence, injuring Mr Pritchard and abandoning the scene.

Ilidzides was sentenced to two and a half years in prison for causing Mr Birch’s death, and was also given one year in prison for injuring Mr Pritchard. Both sentences will run concurrently. The court also ordered that his driving licence be revoked for a year.

Adie Bowen, speaking on behalf of the family, said: “They are absolutely devastated at the injustice of what has happened. We just cannot believe the way the courts have dealt with this.”

Mr Bowen said the family were disgusted at the length of the sentence and felt that Ilidzides had 'got away with it'.

Police who were called to the scene found Mr Birch dead and Mr Pritchard lying injured. The two men were on holiday in Cyprus at the time.

Ilidzides’ car was later found abandoned at the Ayios Georghios harbour.

It was in the sea and had to be pulled out by the fire service.

Ilidzides and his girlfriend 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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