Aids trial woman `had other lover'

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A surprise witness told a Cypriot court yesterday that fisherman Pavlos Georgiou was not responsible for passing the Aids virus to Janette Pink, his former British lover.

Antonis Kombos came forward at the 11th hour to say on oath that the British divorcee had a three-year affair with a local Cypriot called Damianos before she met Mr Georgiou.

Mrs Pink, 45, a mother-of-two from Basildon, Essex, has accused Mr Georgiou of wilfully giving her the HIV virus. If found guilty he could be fined and jailed for two years.

Mr Kombos told the court in Larnaca that he had a relationship with Mrs Pink's teenage daughter Katherine, now 20, and they went out as a foursome with Mrs Pink and Damianos, a waiter.

The defence has always insisted that Mrs Pink had lovers before Mr Georgiou who denies a charge of negligently committing an act that could transmit a life-threatening disease.

"In my opinion Pavlos is innocent," Mr Kombos told the court. He said he had warned Mrs Pink in September 1993 that Mr Georgiou, 40, had Aids.

Mrs Pink began a sexual relationship with Mr Georgiou in January 1994 and she claims he failed to tell her he had the HIV virus. The couple met when Mrs Pink went to settle in Cyprus in 1993 after divorcing her husband, a wealthy City accountant. She had previously enjoyed many holidays on the island.

During the early part of Mr Georgiou's relationship with Mrs Pink, his English-Cypriot wife Martha was dying of Aids in London. Mrs Pink claims that he told her she had leukaemia.

A year ago, Mrs Pink was close to death and weighed only five stone. With the help of a cocktail of drugs she summoned the strength to fly 2,000 miles to Cyprus in May and testify against her former lover.

She was forced to undergo two days of detailed questioning in which she was accused by Tassos Economou, for the defence, of having affairs with both Damianos and a bus driver called Christakis. Neither of the two men has given evidence.

Mrs Pink told the court that Mr Georgiou had been her only lover since the break-up of her marriage. She is unlikely to return to Cyprus for the conclusion of the trial, which is expected later this month.