Chelsea Hyndman death: Briton Luke Walker hopes to clear name in Crete
Thursday 30 May 2013
A 25-year-old Briton who was convicted of killing his girlfriend on the Greek holiday island of Crete will have to wait to return to the UK despite having his sentence suspended.
Luke Walker was initially charged with murdering girlfriend Chelsea Hyndman, 20, who died on May 17, 2010.
But during the two-day trial at Heraklion Mixed Criminal Court, the charge was downgraded to GBH leading to death, and the jury found him guilty.
Walker, from Brierley Hill, near Dudley, was given an eight-year sentence for the crime, which his legal team immediately appealed against.
He was told the sentence would be suspended and he could go back to England if he paid a 10,000 euro (£8,552) bail surety.
But he will have to remain on the Greek island until he can post bail, which must be done within 10 days.
He will also have to return to Greece at a later date for a retrial at an appeals court.
Today, his father Patrick said his son was not in a good frame of mind.
"I think he's down," he said.
"He's very down.
"They said he killed his girlfriend. That's hard for anybody to deal with."
Walker and his family will have remain in Crete until they can get the bail money transferred, which Mr Walker said he hoped they might be able to raise with the help of extended family, and they can file it to the court.
The cost to the family has been colossal since court proceedings started and coming back to Greece for the appeal, which will probably happen in around a year's time, mean Walker's family may have to sell their house, his father said.
"We've done as much as we can.
"We've been able to cover what we need until now but I think we will need between £15,000 and £20,000 for this one."
The family has had to cover the costs of flying to and from Greece, accommodation and living costs, legal fees, and expert witnesses.
But the hope of clearing his son's name makes it all worth it, Mr Walker said.
"I've got to back him all the way. He's not guilty, I know in my heart he's not guilty.
"All the people who are here know he's not guilty. I will never give up on him.
"From day one when I saw him handcuffed in the cell and he said to me, 'Dad, I've done nothing wrong,' I knew it.
"He's my son. I'll back him all the way."
During the trial the court heard that Miss Hyndman, of Castleford, West Yorkshire, died after she was taken to hospital with abdominal pains in May 2010.
She died on May 17 from acute peritonitis, having suffered deteriorating health for a number of days.
Greek prosecutors claim Miss Hyndman was beaten by Walker, but he told the court he did not know the reasons for her death.
Miss Hyndman's mother, Heather, and her partner Neil Lorriman were in court for the trial but have declined to comment in the aftermath.
In his testimony to the court Walker, who lived with his girlfriend of two years in the town of Malia where they both worked in bars, said "my whole life fell apart" as she was rushed to hospital the day before she died.
The trial was laced with drama and intensity - there was controversy over written evidence submitted to the court from sources that George Pyromallis, Walker's barrister, said could have been forged; heated debates between legal counsel and judges; prosecutor Achilles Kyriakou burst into tears during his closing speech and hastily left the courtroom; and the court sat for 11 hours on the first day and 13 on the second in an effort to get the case finished.
It was a trial that did not seem to get a fair hearing, Mr Walker said.
"I honestly believe in my heart it was pre-determined before," he said.
"When I think of the judge and the public prosecutor I just don't think they've taken any interest in it.
"When the judge said they wanted to get it done in two days, it just made me wonder."
He added that Mr Pyromallis was hopeful that by the time the case is re-heard in an appeals court, which he said was a higher class of court, Walker stood a better chance of being cleared.
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