The family of a young British man murdered in Cyprus are meeting Foreign Office officials later in their long-running battle for justice.
Two suspects for the murder of George Low are thought to be hiding in Turkey and one of them appears to have been using social media to threaten and taunt George’s best friend who survived the pub stabbing six years ago.
There are European arrest warrants and Interpol alerts in the fugitives’ names, but they are seemingly free from extradition to Cyprus because of the absence of diplomatic relations with Turkey which occupies the north of the island.
George’s mother Helen said: “They are the scum of the Earth. We’ve gone through all the different emotions and the one that lasts is the anger.
“All I can say is we won’t stop trying to get justice for George.
“When we went to see George in the mortuary we promised him we would do all we could and we won’t go back on that.
“We’re never going to see George, none of his siblings will, but those two are still living their life how they want to live their lives.
“They can see their family, celebrate special occasions with their family and George has lost out on that and we’ve lost out on George. It’s very hard.”
‘Mayhem’ bar crawl led to fatal attack
George, 22, was well known in the lively resort of Ayia Napa and had worked the summer season there twice.
He was on holiday with friend Ben Barker and taking part in one of the regular “Mayhem” bar crawls in August, 2016.
In the early hours, according to witnesses, the pair were involved in an argument with two men. The men walked off, but returned with knives and attacked George and Ben.
George was stabbed several times and died after pulling a knife from his neck as he ran after the attackers. Ben, now 27, was seriously injured but recovered.
The suspects are Turk Mehmet Akpinar, 28, and Bulgarian national Sali Ahmet, 48, both wanted by Cyprus police for murder, attempted murder and grievous bodily harm.
Somebody sent the family secretly shot video of a man said to be Ahmet sitting and chatting with friends at a café in Turkey.
George’s father Martyn said: “I would like Turkey to hand them over and for them to face trial in Southern Cyprus and if they be found guilty serve prison time, hopefully life so they don’t walk the streets again.
“We’ve got life without our son and they should serve life in prison.”
Taunts on social media
A year ago survivor Ben started receiving troubling Instagram messages, with threats and taunts, apparently from Mehmet Akpinar.
One message read: “If I get hold of you I’ll f*** you b****.” Another read: “Did you forget the knives you ate?”
In an exchange Ben tells Akpinar he knows he didn’t kill George and that Sali Ahmet did. “You just stabbed me,” wrote Ben. Akpinar replied: “I know.”
“I think what Akpinar is trying to do is shift all the blame onto Sali Ahmet and is trying to clear himself. That’s why he’s been messaging, he wants to start his life and put all that behind him,” said George’s dad at the family home in Dartford, Kent.
Helen Low said: “He probably wants to move on with his life, perhaps get married and have kids and he’s always looking over his shoulder.
“What I don’t understand is, if he’s willing to say all this why doesn’t he just come forward and say ‘I put my hands up, I was there, I was involved but didn’t kill George’.”
Fight for justice
The family’s MP Gareth Johnson has been helping them lobby the government and Cyprus authorities for more action in exploring the possibility of putting the suspects on trial in Cyprus.
Mr Johnson, MP for Dartford, said: “The Low family have remained incredibly dignified throughout this horrendous experience even though they are acutely aware the chances of the suspects being apprehended remain slim.
“I have met with officials from both communities in Cyprus and the difficult relationship between the two has hindered progress throughout.
“This has enabled the two known suspects to live without fear of arrest for the murder of a British national and it is time for a solution to be found to ensure these dangerous men face up to what they have done and to bring some closure for George Low’s family.”