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Coral Bay hit and run: Defendant pleads guilty to causing death of Briton by dangerous driving

A 35 year old man on Tuesday pleaded guilty to causing the death of Briton Robert James Birch by reckless driving at Coral Bay last summer.

Birch was hit by a car and fatally injured while walking along the road on June 24, 2018 at Ayios Georgios in Peyia. His friend, aged 32,  suffered serious injuries. Witnesses said the victims had intervened when the defendant assaulted a woman who was with him.

The defendant had earlier pleaded not guilty to manslaughter and attempted murder.

But on Tuesday the prosecution dropped those two charges, and instead charged the defendant with reckless driving that resulted in the death of Birch and the injury of his 32 year friend, also British.

He also pleaded guilty to endangering the life of the two British tourists, causing them serious bodily harm by driving recklessly. The 35 year old defendant also admitted to abandoning the scene of the accident, leaving the two  Britons without help.

Counsel for the prosecution Andreas Hadjikyrou said that at the instructions of the attorney general, charges two and three (manslaughter and attempted murder) were being dropped.

Defence lawyer Savvas Matsas did not object.

The defendant has been in police custody since June 24, 2018.

The trial before Paphos Criminal Court will continue on July 18 for presentation of the events.

The defendant remains in police custody.

This is the second change to the charge sheet. The 35 year old had initially faced charges of premeditated murder and attempted murder, but this was amended to manslaughter.

Police who went to went to scene found the 39 year old dead on the road and the second man, aged 32, injured. The driver of the car had abandoned the scene of the accident. A little later, police were informed that the car had been driven into the sea at the fishing shelter.

Two people, a man and woman, were seen exiting the car and were picked up by police as they were walking on the Ayios Georgios Peyia main road.

The 23 year old woman who was with the defendant on the night was initially arrested as an accessory but later released without charges after nothing incriminating emerged against her.

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