A 25-year-old Briton has been found guilty of GBH leading to the death of his girlfriend on the holiday island of Crete three years ago.
Luke Walker was convicted of killing Chelsea Hyndman, who died on May 17, 2010, at Heraklion Mixed Criminal Court.
He was initially charged with murdering his 20-year-old girlfriend but during the two-day trial, the charge was downgraded to grievous bodily harm leading to death, which the jury found him guilty of on Wednesday night.
Walker, from Brierley Hill, near Dudley in the West Midlands, was given an eight-year sentence for the crime, which he immediately appealed against.
He was told the sentence would be suspended and he could return to England if he paid a 10,000 euro (£8,552) bail surety. But he would have to return to the Greek island at a later date for a retrial at an appeals court.
Walker, who looked shocked and tired as the verdict and sentence came in, did not comment as he left court but his father, Patrick, said it was not quite the outcome they had hoped for.
“He was hoping to be acquitted. With the circumstantial evidence that they were putting forward we were quite confident that we would get the result,” he said.
“When he gave out eight years I could have died; I thought how are we going to live, how are we going to cope with this?
“We were devastated but we’ve appealed. We’ve obviously got to come back again to an appeal court but he’s (defence barrister George Pyromallis) much more confident in an appeal court he will win and he will get Luke off.
“Although it’s still hanging over our heads at least he’s not in prison, which is the main thing.”
During the trial, the court heard that Miss Hyndman, of Castleford, West Yorkshire, died after she was taken to hospital with abdominal pains in May 2010. Her health had been deteriorating for a number of days.
Greek prosecutors claim Miss Hyndman was beaten by Walker, but he told the court he did not know the reasons for her death.
During his testimony, the electrician, who lived with his girlfriend of two years in the town of Malia where they both worked in bars, vowed innocence, saying “my whole life fell apart” as she was rushed to hospital the day before she died.
The court was told that a few days before her death, in the early hours of May 12, the couple had arrived back at their apartment and Miss Hyndman, who had been unwell, became irritated with Walker because he began cooking and she was feeling nauseous.
They had a “little bicker”, Walker said, and she went out. He assumed she had gone to a friend’s nearby apartment.
Asked by the judge if he had pushed her, if she had banged against any furniture, or if he had hurt her, he replied “no”.
“You’re saying categorically, adamantly, no?” Walker was asked.
“No I didn’t,” he said.
Earlier in the trial witnesses said that Miss Hyndman had suffered a bad fall during a girl’s night out on May 6.
She fell hard on a cobbled street with her left hand under her stomach area and complained of some pain as the night wore on.
Walker said he did not know about her accident until days after.
“When I got to the hospital the doctor came out and asked me if she had fallen over or anything and I said no because I did not know what had happened,” he testified.
“Then I told my friend and they explained what had gone on.”
Walker wiped tears from his eyes as a close friend told the court of the plans the couple had before Miss Hyndman’s death.
Lyndsay Williamson, who had been friends with Miss Hyndman since 2007, said the couple had fallen in love quickly and their two-year relationship was strong.
Fighting back tears she told the court: “He loved her 100%.
“My impression of Luke was the same as Chelsea’s impression of Luke – they wanted to be together, they wanted a future together, they wanted to get married, they wanted to have children.”
There were also dramatic scenes in the court as lawyers and family members questioned evidence offered to the jury.
Walker’s barrister Mr Pyromallis questioned written evidence that claimed to be from two people who knew of the couple and Walker’s family.
A typed letter from a woman who gave her name only as “Jessie”, dated June 14 2010, said she knew the pair and that when Walker was sober he was fine, but when out drinking he was jealous of other men talking to Miss Hyndman.
It claimed to know of two times when Walker beat Miss Hyndman and kicked her in the stomach.
Walker’s friends and family shouted out in court as it was read and asked: “Jessie? Who’s Jessie?”
The court heard that Miss Hyndman died from acute peritonitis as a result of a blow to her abdomen.
This had caused damage to her pancreas and resulted in a leakage of pancreatic digestive fluids.
She was operated on in hospital but doctors were unable to save her.
Article source: http://news.sky.com/story/1097127