Four in court over island holiday death

David Cryer with the Matthew Cryer FC team
David Cryer with the Matthew Cryer FC team
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A long campaign to bring to justice the killers of a Sheffield teenager – who died on his first holiday alone – has taken a major step forward.

The heartbroken family of 17-year-old Matt Cryer have fought tirelessly for almost six years to see the case brought to trial, after Matt died outside a nightclub on the Greek holiday island of Zakynthos.

Now four men have finally appeared in court, charged under the Greek criminal code with exposure to harm – which can carry a prison sentence of up to 20 years.

Matt’s dad David, of Frecheville, said: “This is the first time anybody has been charged or appeared in court. They are making progress which is good to see. At last they are going to try to do something about Matt’s case. It moves things on a little bit.

“It doesn’t matter how long it takes, we will keep fighting for him. He deserves a fair trial and that is all we are asking for.”

Matt, who grew up in Killamarsh and Frecheville with David and mum Jo Froud, died in July 2008.

Greek police wrongly claimed he had choked on his own vomit but a post mortem examination found he died of head injuries.

An inquest ruled the Owls fan had been unlawfully killed after hearing he was beaten and thrown down a flight of stairs.

His family battled to get the case reopened in a campaign backed by The Star but faced delays and setbacks.

The four men – Charalabos Chaikalis, Andreas Rousianos, Anastasios Paraschis, and the owner of the Cocktails and Dreams nightclub in Laganas, who lawyers believe to be Andronas Charalabos – all deny the charges.

Now the Judicial Council in Greece will decide whether there is enough evidence to prosecute or if to acquit the accused – and it could be another long wait for news.

David, who has organised dozens of events to raise money and keep Matt’s name alive, will this weekend make donations to good causes thanks to the fundraising.

The 49-year-old said: “It could be another six months before we hear anything – it could be next year by the time something happens.

“The four men have denied all the charges against them, and they have found two defence witnesses when they always said there weren’t any.

“I would like to know where they have found these witnesses after six years.”

The four accused are all from Zakynthos and could also face a monetary penalty under the law if convicted.