A FAMILY has spoken of the long-running fight for justice for their 17-year-old son who died after being attacked on his first holiday alone as the legal battle took a major step forward with four men being charged.
Matt Cryer died outside the Cocktails and Dreams bar on the Greek island of Zante in 2008. Greek police initially blamed the student’s death on excessive drinking, but an inquest revealed he had least 20 injuries suggesting he had been attacked and thrown down a flight of stairs.
His family, from Sheffield, has led a six-year fight to bring their son’s killer to justice – which led to Greek police re-opening the inquiry in 2011. And now, four men have appeared in court charged under the Greek criminal code with exposure to harm – which can carry a prison sentence of up to 20 years.
Mr Cryer’s father David 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 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 was brought up by Mr Cryer and Jo Froud, who has since re-married, 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 Sheffield Wednesday fan had been unlawfully killed after hearing he was beaten and thrown down a flight of stairs.
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 acquit the accused.
Mr Cryer, who has organised dozens of events to raise money in memory of his son, will this weekend make donations to good causes with cash from 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.