A man was sentenced in Cyprus for two and a half years by the Paphos criminal court on Thursday for reckless driving after he knocked over and killed a British tourist and father of two last year in Peyia, after a more serious manslaughter charge was dropped, AFP reported.
The 35-year-old defendant Dimitris Ilitzidis pleaded guilty to the charge of causing death by reckless and dangerous driving during the hit and run incident in 2018. Ilitzidis was initially charged with premeditated murder, a charge he denied and then later he pleaded not guilty in January after the charge was downgraded to manslaughter. He claimed he hit the two men by accident, the Daily Mail reported.
Paphos criminal court sentenced Ilitzidis for causing the death of British tourist Robert Birch,39, injuring a second Briton,32 and leaving the scene of an accident. The court ruled that the driver being drunk at the time of the incident was not a mitigating factor.
According to Cyprus Mail, recent repercussions of the arrest, were the financial problems that started to affect the defendant’s family leaving them in dire need of assistance. His wife was forced to stop her work as a teaching assistant helping children with their schoolwork, the lawyer said.
Ilitzidis’ lawyer has however confirmed that his client immediately admitted to the amended charges and that this stemmed from real remorse.
Earlier this month, the city of Paphos stepped up actions to tackle traffic accidents, as police said that drivers had been booked for 81 driving offences during a 12-hour crime prevention and road safety campaign in the city. There were further campaigns in Chlorakas, Emba, Kato Paphos, Tombs of the Kings and the Dimma areas. A total of 120 vehicles and 150 individuals were checked and 81 traffic offences were reported.