Woman tells of love for fisherman with Aids

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The Independent Online
A Cypriot fisherman was taken by police from his hospital bed yesterday and brought face to face in a courtroom with the former British girlfriend who has accused him of deliberately infecting her with HIV.

Hours before he was due to stand trial, Pavlos Georgiou who is HIV positive, reported to an Aids clinic on the island complaining of stomach pains and high temperature.

But the judge at Larnaca district court issued a warrant for his arrest. He was taken from the hospital and made to listen as Janette Pink, who is dying from the effects of Aids, alleged that he had knowingly given her the virus.

When he finally arrived at court, an apparently healthy Mr Georgiou, 39, grinned and gave thumbs up signs to onlookers.

His mood changed when he saw his former lover. Sitting in the dock he stared at the floor as Ms Pink, 45, barely 10 feet away, told the court in intimate detail about their relationship.

It was a love affair which began in 1993, she said, when her marriage in England broke up and she decided to move permanently to a holiday home on Cyprus.

The former wife of a City accountant, she was introduced to Mr Georgiou through mutual friends in a bar. They began socialising and months later started a relationship.

"It didn't even occur to me to use a condom," she told the court. "We had both been in marriages of 20 years, with children. We were not young people."

She first suspected her lover might have HIV when her attention was drawn to a newspaper article which claimed that he and his wife had the virus.

Mr Georgiou denied the newspaper story was true and when Ms Pink had an HIV test it proved negative. She finally discovered the truth six months later, in September 1994, when she found out that Mr Georgiou's wife, Martha, had died in London from Aids.

But when she confronted Mr Georgiou he was unsympathetic. "I said ... I know that Martha died of Aids. I know that you are HIV positive and I know that you have infected me. I asked him why he didn't tell me and he didn't have any answer. He didn't even apologise to me."

Ms Pink appeared composed and determined as she delivered 90 minutes of evidence.

She told Antonis Liatsis, the district judge that she continued to have sex with Mr Georgiou after going for a second Aids test which proved positive.

"We got on well together," she said, "I loved him. It made sense that we were both infected with the same virus. It made sense to stay together and not leave him. Maybe I was naive but it just made sense that we should stay together."

It was only after she moved into Mr Georgiou's apartment last year that their 18-month relationship turned sour, she said. "I began to see another side of him which I didn't particularly like very much, especially with his temper and his violence towards other people, even his children," she said.

In August last year, Ms Pink had become so ill that she returned to Britain.

"I was very sick," she said. "I had pneumonia and I lost a lot of weight. My hair began to fall out. I was not able to do any of the functions like feed myself. I was completely incapable of doing anything." It was from a hospital bed in England that she composed the letter of complaint to Cypriot police which led to the trial.

The prosecution is the first of its kind to be brought under an obscure island law aimed at stopping the deliberate spread of diseases such as cholera and typhoid. Mr Georgiou faces a maximum sentence of two years in jail and a fine of pounds 1,500.

Earlier, the court heard that the fisherman - who attended the hearing in black jeans and a bright green T-shirt with the legend Queen's Head Pub - has been attending the Aids clinic as an out patient since October. He suffers from vomiting and gastro-intestinal problems.