John Macris’ widow Viktoria Karida has wept as she came face-to-face with the men accused of executing the former Sydney gangster in cold blood in Greece.
The former model and reality TV star was overcome with grief as the Bulgarian brothers accused of the hit on Macris were brought into an Athens court on Wednesday night.
Ms Karida, wearing a green and black striped shirt, black jeans and sneakers, had to step out of the room.
“I am devastated but I remain strong,” she said during a break in the proceedings.
Yuliyanov J Raychev Serafim has been charged with first degree murder for allegedly shooting Macris, who had links to organised crime in Sydney before he moved to Greece in 2013.
Macris was shot at close range when he arrived at his home in Voula, an up-market hillside suburb of the Greek capital.
Serafim’s brother Milen Raychev was accused of driving the Nissan Pulsar getaway car, after allegedly stalking Macris for 19 days before the shooting in October 2018.
The brothers have denied the charges saying they could not be hitmen because professionals would not have used their own names to check into hotels and their own passports.
However, CCTV of the shooting shows a man wearing clothes similar to those found in Serafim’s hotel room, along with a receipt.
In court on Wednesday night, Serafim, wearing a white shirt and a face mask because of coronavirus concerns, smiled at his wife.
She was dressed in white with a scarf, and was on the verge of tears, and he was also supported by his mother.
Serafim, who has tattoos on his neck and and fingers, told the court he would speak in English, as a translator negotiated the complicated trial.
There were at least 50 people in the small courtroom, with proceedings moved to a different part of the court after the jury of two men and two women was empanelled.
Prominent Greek defence lawyer, Alexandros Lykourezos, had complained that the brothers were sitting behind the prosecution and demanded they be moved.
There was a heavy police presence in the courtroom, with three officers guarding the brothers, while another three were also there.
Ms Karida, the mother of two of Macris’ children, arrived at the court alone but she was later joined by make up artist, Prokopis Makrilakis, who she has been friends with for 17 years.
She had said in Greek media reports last week: “I don’t know how I will react when I’ll face the [accused] killers. I’ve thought about various things. I don’t know if I will find the strength to stand up to [those] who [allegedly] deprived my children of their father.”
“I have nothing to say to them … My children are crying and asking for their father.”
The former Playboy model also revealed last week that her children Alexandra and Achilles had found out how their father was killed by watching it on YouTube.
The children, who were at a five-star hotel on the Greek Island of Paros at the weekend, had posted heartfelt messages to their dad online, on what would have been his 48th birthday.
“Daddy, I love you a lot, I will never forget you,” a translated message from Achilles said.
His daughter Alexandra wrote: “Daddy, I love you a lot, you are the best. There is no other like you, you are very kind, happy birthday.”
More to come.
Source: The Daily Telegraph.