Wednesday, July 21, 2010

She’d kill for a job on TV…and the cops think she did.

Generally when the person reading The News makes the news, it’s bad news indeed. And the tiny European island nation of Cyprus has been rocked by the violent murder of the man who owns the country’s most popular TV channel, allegedly by a jilted news anchor.

Elena Skordelli (pictured) has been charged by Nicosian police as being part of a conspiracy to kill Andy Hadjicostis. Skordelli stands accused along with her brother and other conspirators, for paying to have Andy ‘taken out’.

Media is a tough business in Cyprus, with on-air presenting saved for the nation’s elite. Skordelli, with heritage hailing from a peasant village, didn’t fit the mould. But after attending journalism school, and previously catching the eye of a rival channel’s executive, she landed the anchor role on the nation’s top TV bulletin.

But driven by ambition beyond her means, and a good dose of paranoia, Skordelli sold property inherited by both she and her brother and bought a 20% stake in her employer’s channel, a seat on the board and subsequent on-air job for life…or so she thought.

Enraged from knowing nothing of the bid before the deal was sealed, the channel’s owner Andy Hadjicostis immediately suspended Skordelli from her broadcasting role.

Police allege that Skordelli then hired two bumbling hitmen to tail Andy, a job that took longer than expected due to them initially following the wrong guy for weeks. Eventually hitting their mark, police identified the shooter as a known low-life, who easily rolled under questioning…with immunity and witness protection…and pending the extradition of another co-accused from Moldova, the trial is set to finally get underway later this year.

Of course, all the accused deny the charges.

It all seems like ambition gone wild. With respect to any hot-blooded Mediterranean cousins, surely there must be some predisposition for anyone to become so incensed that the only means of retribution is to kill. It’s a nice way of saying ‘mentally ill’, or perhaps ‘unstable’ to be kinder. At times when I’ve been seriously hot under the collar, I’ve fallen back on the “24 hour rule”. That is, let 24 hours go by, then weigh up the options and the strategies. By that time, a sense of perspective and sensibility has usually prevailed.

In this tragic instance however, no common sense was employed. I guess there never is with murder.