Aids woman accused of sex obsession

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Janette Pink, the Englishwoman who is accusing her former Cypriot lover of deliberately giving her Aids, yesterday underwent the harrowing ordeal of being questioned in intimate detail about her sex life before a court.

Mrs Pink, who has been told by doctors that she may only have a year to live, denied that she regarded sex as "more important than food" in her relationship with a fisherman, Pavlos Georgiou, who sat before her in the dock at Larnaca District Court.

Under intense questioning from Tassos Economou, for the defence, Mrs Pink, 45, remained resolute and determined as she told the court the couple had enjoyed "uninhibited physical relationships after meeting four years ago in a bar in Cyprus".

She admitted that three months into their relationship, friends had filled her bed with condoms and pot-pourri. But she came home with Mr Georgiou, cleared away the condoms and had unprotected sex.

"We never used a condom," she said. "It never occurred to me. These were not my condoms. They were put there as a joke from my friends and cousins."

Only a month earlier she had taken an Aids test after being told her lover might have the virus. The test proved negative.

Asked what her feelings were for Mr Georgiou at this time, she said: "I was very fond of him. You could say I loved him."

Occasionally shooting pained glances to her parents, Vic and Sheila Ruston, who were sitting near the front of the court, Mrs Pink said that sex had not been important to her before she went to live on the island following the break-up of her 20-year marriage to a City accountant.

"My husband in the last few years of my marriage, was not very well and I was not active sexually," she said. "It didn't have very much importance to me. I had been married a long time. I'd had my children."

The court heard that the couple had dated for four months before they began their 18-month physical relationship.

Mrs Pink said: "Pavlos never forced any attentions on me. It was always a mutual thing."

She said she was reluctant to become a mistress to a man who was married with children. "I wanted to remain friends. I didn't want to enter into a physical relationship. I'm not in the habit of having casual relationships with people. I'd been in a long-term marriage," she said. "It didn't feel right to enter into a physical relationship because he was married, but eventually my feelings broke down and the physical relationship happened."

Mr Economou asked her: "Was Pavlos Georgiou a good lover, very good, average or excellent?"

Shaking her head in disbelief at the question, Mrs Pink replied: "Good." The accused smiled briefly in the dock.

Mr Georgiou, 39, is accused, under an obscure Cypriot law drawn up to stop the spread of cholera and typhoid. He could face up to two years in jail.

As he arrived in court wearing sunglasses and a short-sleeved shirt he expressed his contempt for his former lover.

"She's out of my mind. I thought nothing when I saw her yesterday," he said. "I had my head down so I did not look at her because to me she's no longer there. She does not exist."

He kept his eyes away from Mrs Pink as she told the court that she had been on a succession of holidays to Cyprus since 1989. On some occasions she had come with her husband and two children and on others she had travelled alone.

Mr Economou put it to her that during three trips to the island in a six-month period in 1991 and 1992 she had been having an affair with a man named Damianos. Mrs Pink said it was a lie. "I never had a relationship with him. We were friends," she said.

Mr Economou suggested that Mrs Pink was a woman who liked to have fun and enjoyed going to bars in the resort of Agia Napa, near to where she lived. "I'm informed that you also used to sing very nicely," he said. She replied: "I've got a terrible voice."

Mrs Pink, who now lives with her parents in Basildon, Essex, said she had first heard of Aids eight years ago but had not taken a special interest in the virus and its effects.

"I have not watched any specific programmes about HIV. If there was an item in the news I would have watched it, and if there was an article in the newspaper I might have read it. But it didn't have any specific interest to me," she said.

"Like many people I believed really it was only the gay community or drugs users who really had a problem with Aids. I was very naive."