I'm going home to die, says Aids case woman

Ian Burrell hears Janette Pink's painful testimony in Larnaca
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The Independent Online
Janette Pink, the English woman who says her former Cypriot lover knowingly passed her the Aids virus, said yesterday that she was going home to die, surrounded by her family, after completing three days of tortuous questioning over her sex life.

Her former lover Pavlos Georgiou, 39, revealed as he arrived at Larnaca District Court yesterday that he had been HIV positive for nearly six years and believed he had been passed the virus by a tourist.

Mrs Pink, 45, who had an 18-month relationship with Mr Georgiou after moving to Cyprus in 1993 to start a new life following a divorce, said she might never return to the island now that she had completed her evidence. "I like coming, it's a lovely country; but whether I feel I will be able to come back again I don't know," she said. "I cannot make long-term plans. Obviously I don't know how much longer I'm going to live. I'm trying to make the best of the time I have left with my family."

Yesterday Mrs Pink was forced to undergo a further two-and-a-half hours of cross-examination in which she was accused of having a succession of lovers on the island.

Tassos Economou, the defence lawyer, suggested to her that she had had a sexual relationship with a Cypriot bus driver named Christakis whom she had met in a bar and who now had HIV. Mrs Pink denied she knew the man. "The only person I had intercourse with in Cyprus was Pavlos," she said.

Mr Economou apologised to the former wife of a City accountant as he asked her detailed questions about her enjoyment of sexual foreplay.

Mrs Pink who had been alert in the witness box, answering questions quickly and confidently, suddenly became agitated. "I'm sorry, this is very difficult," she said. "We just made love in the normal way. By touching and kissing and penetration in the normal way."

As she spoke, her former lover sat bowed with his head in his hands, unable to look at her.

Mr Georgiou, a fisherman, is accused under an obscure Cypriot law intended to stop the deliberate spread of diseases like cholera and typhoid. If convicted he faces a maximum sentence of two years in jail.

Outside the court he said his condition had deteriorated in the last six months. "There is nothing you can do except live things the way they come," he said.

His defence team is preparing to bring forward witnesses who, they allege, had sexual relations with the English woman while she was in Cyprus.

Yesterday the court was told further details of an evening in April 1994 when Mrs Pink and her lover returned from an evening out to find condoms and pot-pourri had been placed in their bed. "We thought it was quite funny," said Mrs Pink, laughing. "We just cleared the mess off which caused some discomfort because as you know pot pourri can be quite prickly. We got in bed and made love."

Mr Economou alleged that the night was special as it was the first time Mrs Pink had made her lover remove his condom.

She replied: "We never used condoms. This particular night, condoms were put in the bed but we pushed them aside. "There was nothing particularly special about this night. Pavlos behaved sexually the same every time that we made love. He was always very noisy, in fact so much so that on one occasion my neighbour actually complained."

She said that the couple had never discussed getting married. "I never expected anything of Pavlos. I believed that he loved me at one time. We were very happy together. I was living there, taking care of his children. I never actually asked Pavlos to marry me and I never assumed that he would."

She said she had no knowledge in the early months of their relationship that the fisherman's wife, Martha, was dying of Aids. "I believed Martha was dying of leukaemia which is what Pavlos told me. I believed him. I never had any reason to suspect anything other than that she had leukaemia," she said.

Mrs Pink was also unaware of the fact that Mr Georgiou's youngest son, Rafaelos, was HIV positive. "When I met him he didn't appear to be ill. He was a healthy-looking child and Pavlos never mentioned anything," she said.

No member of Mr Georgiou's family saw fit to warn her that he carried HIV, she added: "None of the family at any time, even if they had the opportunity, never once mentioned to me that fact that Pavlos had HIV and that Martha was dying of Aids. Not even his brother Petros who knew about the affair almost from the day it started."

Outside the court yesterday, Petros Georgiou, the defendant's identical twin, alleged that the case had been initiated by other members of Mrs Pink's family. "They want to use the story to make lots of money, to make their name and be a hero," he said.

But in her evidence, Mrs Pink was adamant that she had made the decision to go to court herself after becoming seriously ill.

Mrs Pink even turned the tables on her interrogator Mr Economou, when he questioned her over the holiday home she had bought to live on the island. "You should know this Mr Economou, you actually acted for me on the purchase of this property," she said.

Wagging her finger at him she added: "And I would like to see you on Monday about that."

The exchange brought a rare moment of laughter in the court. Later Mrs Pink, who is returning this week to her parents' home in Basildon, Essex, said: "I'm glad I've finished giving my evidence. It's now up to the judge to make his decision."

The case was adjourned until Thursday but it is not expected to be completed until later in the summer.