Property developer told prostitute about murder, court heard

A property developer confessed to a prostitute that he murdered a caretaker because he "was in the way and he had to go," the Old Bailey heard today.









Thanos Papalexis told escort Rebecca DeFalco in a Florida hotel that he and two henchmen killed Charalambos Christodoulides, 55, because he would not move out of a £2m building he was trying to sell, it was alleged.



Christodoulides was last seen before contracts were exchanged for the disused warehouse in Kilburn, north west London.



His body was found in March 2000 in a garage inspection pit in the complex, he had been tied to a chair, tortured and strangled to death.



Papalexis, 36, of Palm Beach, Florida, and failed Kosova Albanian asylum seekers Ylli Xhelo, 36, unemployed and of now fixed address, and Robert Baxhija, 29, a painter of Sidney Avenue, Palmers Green, north London, deny murder.



Jonathan Laidlaw QC, prosecuting, said "Miss DeFalco was a prostitute working as a 'escort' in the Miami Beach area.



"The defendant answered an advertisement and they arranged to meet for sex in a hotel in Palm Beach.



"Papalexis told Miss DeFalco that he was in the shipping and oil business.



"Later he also spoke of working for the CIA and the British intelligence services.



"Their relationship developed very quickly, with Papalexis effectively paying her only to sleep with him and thereafter they would meet, for the next three months, about three times a week".



Mr Laidlaw said that the relationship came to an end in June 2004 although they continued to speak for sometime and see each other occasionally through to 2007.



Mr Laidlaw said: "The confession was made at the end of May 2004 at the Four Seasons Hotel in Palm Beach.



"Papalexis was supposed to stay the week at the hotel but his visit was cut short by business commitments elsewhere, this gave rise to arguments and to Papalexis becoming angry and kicking at things in the room.



"At that point Miss DeFalco asked him, 'Have you ever killed anybody'. She asked because of the work the defendant claimed to do and did not expect an answer.



"Quite unexpectedly Papalexis walked over to her and said, 'Yes, I have'. He said it was an innocent man, a 'nobody' who was watching a building.



"The defendant explained that the murder had something to do with a building and the man who had been killed was in the way and he had to go".



Miss DeFalco said nothing about Papalexis' alleged confession until after he had been arrested in December 2008.



Mr Laidlaw said: "Papalexis told DeFalco that the man would not die quickly and they beat him some more whilst he was being strangled.



"The defendant said it took a long time and there was a lot of blood.



"He spoke of turning his back whilst the strangling happened but he had to involve himself because the man did not die".

Voices
On the last day of campaigning before the polling booths open, the SNP leader has written to voters in a final attempt to convince them to vote for independence
scotland decidesIs a huge gamble on oil keeping First Minister up at night?
Arts and Entertainment
Rosalind Buckland, the inspiration for Cider with Rosie died this week
booksBut what is it like to be the person who inspires a classic work of art?
Life and Style
techApple has just launched its latest mobile operating software – so what should you do first?
News
A male driver reverses his Vauxhall Astra from a tow truck
newsThe 'extremely dangerous' attempt to avoid being impounded has been heavily criticised
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Arts and Entertainment
Lionel Messi in action for Barcelona
filmSo what makes the little man tick?
Arts and Entertainment
tvReview: An undercooked end (spoiler alert)
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Pharrell dismissed the controversy surrounding
musicThe singer said 'the last thing I want to do is degrade'
Sport
Cesc Fabregas celebrates his first Chelsea goal
footballChelsea vs Schalke match report
Arts and Entertainment
Toby Jones (left) and Mackenzie Crook in BBC4’s new comedy The Detectorists
tvMackenzie Crook's 'Detectorists' makes the hobby look 'dysfunctional', they say
Life and Style
fashion

Olympic diver has made his modelling debut for Adidas

News
i100
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Day In a Page

Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
How to make a Lego masterpiece

How to make a Lego masterpiece

Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam
'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

Exclusive extract from Janis Winehouse's poignant new memoir
Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

The Imitation Game, film review
England and Roy Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption in Basel

England and Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption

Welbeck double puts England on the road to Euro 2016
Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Pictures removed from public view as courts decide ownership
‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

Donatella Versace at New York Fashion Week