The third of a series of inquiries into the death of Thanasis Nikolaou concluded in Cyprus this week, in a court room filled with tensions between the legal team of the Nikolaou family and the the state prosecutor.

Proceedings concluded on Wednesday before the coroner Doria Varoshiotou with the independent criminal investigator, Savvas Matsas, providing his deposition.

But the mother of the deceased, Andriana Nicolaou, opted not to testify, despite the court’s directive.

Her legal representatives conveyed Nicolaou’s refusal citing an “insulting and derogatory manner of cross-examination” by the state prosecutor as the reason.

Matsas questioned the suicide ruling by forensic pathologist Panicos Stavrianos, criticising his initial handling of the inquiry, and pointing out inconsistencies in explanations regarding physical evidence at the scene.

In an extract of his report, Matsas stated: “Due to the above, we attribute the death of Athanasios Nikolaou to premeditated murder by strangulation and after the exercise of brutal physical violence.”

Thanasis Nicolaou, who relocated from Melbourne 20 years ago to serve in the military in Cyprus, tragically lost his life while fulfilling his duties.

His body was found under a bridge in Alassa in 2005 and his death was deemed by the army and police as a suicide.

But suspicions of a cover up have been backed by evidence including autopsies showing he had been beaten and strangled.

In recent years Thanasi Nicolaou’s mother has been challenging the establishment in Cyprus to bring to light what she alleges is the truth about her son’s death.

In the latest inquiry, the state prosecutor challenged the testimonies of other pathologists whose findings rule out the suicide scenario and diminished the deposition of the independent criminal investigator, Savvas Matsas.

A decision on the case is expected to be announced on 10 May by the coroner Dora Varoshiotou.