The night watchman who “messed” with robbers and they murdered him

Early morning of July 29, 1988. At the premises of the pharmaceutical company “MINERVA” on Kifisos Avenue, a brutal crime took place. The victim was the company’s 48-year-old night watchman and the perpetrators were two burglars, aged 23 and 35.

The night watchman was armed. He realized the two thieves had opened a hole in the company’s safe. He tried to stop them and paid for it with his life.

The two thugs disarmed him, attacked him with a knife and gave him the “free shot” with a shotgun bullet.

And all this while he was waiting for the arrival of his twin children. The case shocked public opinion and made headlines.

10 stabs to the neck, fatal blow to the thigh

Two workers found the body of the night watchman at 06:20 in the morning, in a “pool” of blood, on the stairs between the ground floor and the first floor. Dozens more workers, who were gathered outside the “MINERVA” factory, “froze” upon hearing the sad news.

Dozens of workers, who were gathered outside the “MINERVA” factory, “froze” upon hearing the news about the murder of the night watchman – Image source: “Ta Nea” newspaper

The medical examiner who performed the autopsy found that the night watchman had 10 stab wounds to his neck and left arm. One of them pierced his larynx.

A double-barreled bullet wound to the left thigh caused the 48-year-old night watchman to bleed profusely and resulted in his death, the coroner ruled.

At the same time, the 48-year-old’s wife was at the Aretaiio Hospital, to give birth to their twin children. They had four more: two boys, ages 11 and 4, and two girls, ages 7 and 2.5.

On the day of the murder, the 48-year-old’s wife was in Aretaiio, waiting to give birth to their twin children – Image source: “Ta Nea” newspaper

He fought the battle of his life

According to the police, the killers broke into the premises of the “MINERVA” factory through a curtain wall, using a wooden ladder. They removed the window blinds behind the basement toilets and reached the machine shop.

There they found two cylinders, one of acetylene and one of oxygen, which they used to pierce the safe on the third floor. Before reaching their target, they broke into three offices, including one of the company’s owner.

The night watchman heard a noise and immediately rushed to the third floor to see what was happening. He was confronted by the burglars and they did not hesitate to execute him with a knife and a pistol.

Blood was everywhere on the stairs from the third floor to the junction of the first floor and ground floor, where the 48-year-old was found dead. His gun was gone and his flashlight was found lying on the floor. The two killers fled in a factory car.

He fought the battle of his life. K. was coming from 11 in the evening and leaving at 5 in the morning. Today Friday was the last day the factory worked. From Monday, the workers left on leave“, said one of the owners of the pharmaceutical industry.

The capture of the two murderers

The Police initially considered the perpetrators to be inexperienced robbers, mainly from the way in which they pierced the safe and the fact that they had not secured their way of escape. At the same time, however, he concluded that they knew quite well the premises of the pharmaceutical industry and their goal.

The Security officers proceeded to arrest more than 100 people, without anything coming against them. Meanwhile, the “MINERVA” car, in which the perpetrators fled, was located in a deserted area in Ano Liosia.

Finally, within a few 24 hours, the two murderers were located and arrested. The first, aged 23, was found in Olympia, confessed to the murder and the murder knife and a gun were found in his hiding place.

The second, aged 35, was found in Zakynthos and according to his accomplice, he was the one who stabbed the 48-year-old night watchman. But he denied his involvement in the crime.


The two murderers were found and arrested in different places

“He saw us, we have to eat him”

The 23-year-old was an employee of “Minerva” for 8 years and his history included petty theft. The 35-year-old was also flagged for theft and the last time he was released from prison by Korydallos was a year before he committed the crime at “MINERVA”. The two met through a third party, a month and a half before the murder.

As the 23-year-old confessed, while they were breaking into the safe, the night watchman appeared and “stuck” the pistol to his temple. But his magazine fell off and a fight ensued.

Then, the blouse, with which the 23-year-old had covered his face, was torn and then the “countdown” began for the 48-year-old night watchman. “He saw us, we must eat him“, the 35-year-old accomplice allegedly said. “You eat him, I can’t“, the 23-year-old replied.

When asked by journalists if he regretted it, the 23-year-old answered in bewilderment: “What to say. I am ready to pay for everything…“. Furthermore, he argued that they had not predecided that they would kill, but that “they went to the factory under the condition of tying up the guard and gagging him“.

The blame on both sides

During the re-enactment of the crime, the 23-year-old and 35-year-old appeared cool, cynical and unrepentant. They fell into contradictions and one “threw the ball” to the other in order to lighten his position.

Both denied stabbing the 48-year-old in the neck, with the 35-year-old claiming: “I didn’t get a knife in my hands. I had no knife, nor did I stab him.

If I had, I would have confessed. After all, I will “eat” for life, why should I deny it? We went to the factory to open the safe. We took the gun for intimidation“.

The guard was a lad. We held hands and he fought like a lion. He took our hoods off. We were fighting for our lives now. However, I went to “MINERVA” to steal and not to kill“, argued the 23-year-old.


After their arrest, the perpetrators tried to blame each other for the crime – Image source: “Ta Nea” newspaper

The security measures around “MINERVA” were draconian. The anger, pain and grief of the night watchman’s relatives was immense, with the victim’s brother spitting at the killers as they were put into the patrol car.

The episodic trial…

The case of the staunch murderer in “MINERVA” was tried in mid-December 1989, in the Mixed Jury Court of Athens. The black-clad wife of the dead night watchman appeared with her twin children in her arms, which she gave birth to two days after the crime.

She cried constantly, having as her only consolation the remaining four children of the family. At the same time, relatives of the victim were shouting “Death to the killers!” and tried to lynch them.


The trial for the murder of the “MINERVA” night watchman was episodic – Image source: “Ta Nea” newspaper

The two defendants took diametrically opposite positions. The 24-year-old described the crime in detail, claiming that “he didn’t want to kill, so he shot himself in the leg“, and the 36-year-old put all the blame on his accomplice, ending up saying: “Try me for robbery, but not for murder“.

Among the witnesses, the medical examiner who examined the body of the 48-year-old also testified. He confirmed that the blow to the thigh from the double barrel was fatal and showed before the judges the bloodied T-shirt of the 35-year-old defendant and the knife with which the night watchman was murdered. As for his wife, in her testimony she was faint and fainted twice.


The 48-year-old’s wife is in pain and the coroner shows the evidence of the crime in court – Image source: “Ta Nea” newspaper

In addition, a neurologist-psychiatrist who appeared as a witness refused to certify that one of the defendants was insane. “The military graduation certificate states that he is a severely psychopathic personality and a drug addict. This does not constitute mental illness. These are people with impulses, which they do not always control. We do not meet them in psychiatric hospitals, but in courts and prisons“, he argued.

…and the conviction

The prosecutor suggested that the two killers, whom he described as “persons dangerous to public safety“. His proposal was heard and the perpetrators were sentenced to life imprisonment. The first listened to the sentence speechless and sullen, while the second exclaimed ironically:Do I even have to thank them?“.


The two murderers of the 48-year-old night watchman of “MINERVA” were sentenced to life imprisonment – Image source: “Ta Nea” newspaper

Main photo image source: newspaper “The news


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