Heartache for Matthew’s family as Greek cops delay death probe

Matthew Cryer
Matthew Cryer
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Greek authorities are ‘too busy’ to deal with investigation of holiday tragedy

THREE prime suspects in the case of the holiday island killing of Sheffield teenager Matthew Cryer are today at large – because the Greek authorities are ‘too busy’ to deal with the case.

As Matthew’s family mark the third anniversary of his death in Zante, they say the news means they are still no nearer to seeing those responsible brought to justice.

They claim their campaign for justice is being held up by police who fear a proper investigation could ruin the reputation of the island and its tourist industry. At the time of his death Greek police said Matt, 17, from Killamarsh was drunk and had fallen down a flight of stairs outside Cocktails and Dreams nightclub in Laganas.

But an inquest in England heard evidence that he was sober and had in fact been beaten up by bouncers who then pushed him down the steep staircase.

The coroner recorded a verdict that Matthew had been unlawfully killed and criticised the Greek authorities for their failure to properly investigate the young man’s death.

Despite the coroner’s recommendations that those responsible should be prosecuted, the Greeks have continued to drag their feet.

The family’s campaign for justice has won the backing of The Star as well as a host of local MPS. Then, earlier this year, came some positive news – when police announced they had identified the suspects.

But now the Cryers say they have been told the three men will remain at large until local magistrates find the time to deal with the case.

Matt’s mum Joanne Froud and dad David Cryer say they were contacted by Joseph Horbacki, the Foreign Office’s consular desk officer for Greece who gave them the news.

Mr Horbacki told them a colleague had visited the court in Zante several times before she was finally given an opportunity to speak to the examining magistrate.

He said: “We were informed that the magistrate, Ms Salapa, had read through the case and was about to call the witnesses suggested in the file, when a very large ring of criminals were caught. Ms Salapa said that this has taken priority as a considerable amount of people are involved.

“In addition Ms Salapa said that if at all possible she would try to work on the case, but she said she may not be able to look at it again before the end of August. Ms Salapa added she will be replaced by a new Investigating Magistrate on September 15. However, she assured my colleague that in the event that she had been unable to work on the case before then, she will make sure the new investigating magistrate has been made fully aware.”

Matthew’s dad David said it is a typical example of how the authorities in Zante go about their business.

He added: “They have come up with yet another reason not to investigate this properly. It’s been three years since Matthew died and the police have come up with excuse after excuse for their inaction.

“In the meantime more people on the island are dying, people like Robert Sebbage, 18 from Basingstoke who this month was stabbed to death by a local man in Laganas. His was the fourth death in four years to have occurred in similar circumstances and yet nothing seems to be happening about it.

“The police admit they dare not drive down the main strip at night as they fear for their own safety. This is a clear indication that the bar owners and bouncers are running the place and literally getting away with murder. My advice to anyone thinking of going to Zante is quite simple. Don’t!”

A spokesman for the Foreign Office said they couldn’t comment on individual cases.