Murderers of British couple jailed

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The Independent Online
TWO ALBANIAN immigrants received double life sentences from a Greek court yesterday after being convicted of murdering a retired British couple last year.

A court also sentenced Edward Elmazai, 21, and Lambro Pappa, 27, for robbery, possession and use of a weapon.

The two were convicted of using a large knife and a pitchfork to murder Roy Eccles, 55, a retired electrical engineer, and his wife Judith, 49, a retired accountant, in their home on Kaminarata on the Ionian island of Cephalonia on 12 March 12, 1998. Their sentence amounted to 62 years each.

Mr and Mrs Eccles, from St Neots, Cambridgeshire, were found with multiple knife wounds.

The Albanians were arrested three days later on the neighbouring island of Lefkada, about 160 miles northwest of Athens.

During the case, at Lefkada which lasted just a few hours, the Albanians claimed they were under the influence of drugs and had no intention of killing the couple.

But the judge rejected their claims and said they showed a lack of remorse for the brutal killing and said the murder had sullied the reputation of the island. The murders happened only five months after the couple set up home on the island, the setting for Louis de Bernieres' best-selling novel Captain Corelli's Mandolin.

The couple had sold their pounds 100,000 home to live in the one-bedroom villa and join their friends Mr Richard Coward and his wife, Janet.

The Cowards and had known the couple for more than 20 years and it was Mr Coward who raised the alarm after he became concerned that they were not answering their phone. They were discovered dead in their bed by Mr Coward and Mrs Eccles brother, Derek Wooding.

Mrs Sue Bateman, 54, who was a neighbour of the Eccles's for more than 20 years, said: "I am pleased that the people who killed them have got their just deserts, but it will not bring Judith and Roy back.

"I am very glad that justice has been done and that they have been jailed so quickly."

Stephen Holmes, a partner at the firm of solicitors in Bedford where Mrs Eccles worked for 33 years, said: "We are grateful to the Greek police for bringing the perpetrators to justice so quickly and to the Greek people who were so kind to the couple and genuinely outraged by their deaths."