Court told TV host 'hired hitmen'

Prosecutors began presenting evidence yesterday in the trial of a television presenter and two men for the murder of a Cypriot media baron. The presenter is accused of hiring contract killers after she was sacked.

Elena Skordelli, her brother Anastasios Krasopoullis and Andreas Gregoriou have pleaded not guilty to plotting and ordering the killing of Andy Hadjicostis, 41. The Dias Media Group director was gunned down with a sawn-off shotgun in January outside his home in Nicosia as he was speaking to a relative on his mobile phone.

Witnesses for the prosecution claim Ms Skordelli had said she wanted Mr Hadjicostis dead and her life was "a living hell" after she was fired. The defence say the prosecution's case is "flimsy" because it hinges on the testimony of Theophanis Hadjigeorgiou, allegedly the second of the two-man hit crew who has been granted immunity from prosecution.