President Nikos Christodoulides has pledged to investigate the handling of the tragic case of national guardsman Thanasis Nicolaou. The landmark ruling overturned the ‘suicide’ finding which authorities had insisted upon for 19 years.

Nicolaou, who left Australia to serve in the Greek Cypriot army, was found dead under Alassa bridge in September 2005 at the age of 26. The initial ruling by forensic pathologist Panicos Stavrianos was suicide, but the family has always maintained it was a murder and a coverup.

Judge Doria Varoshiotou’s ruling on Friday confirmed their suspicions, stating that Nicolaou had been strangled by a left-handed person. Nicolaou’s death came after he reported bullying and suspicions of drug dealing at his army unit, fearing retaliation.

The President’s comments come after a court decision determined Nicolaou was killed by strangulation, a finding that the family has long argued.

Christodoulides stated that the executive branch would examine why proper actions were not taken in the case since 2005 stressing the need to understand “why necessary steps were not taken for 19 years”.

“You can imagine how many governments came and went,” he said.

He added that both cabinet and himself met with Thanasis’ mother Andriana Nicolaou, after he took office stating that the executive branch would do whatever it takes to address the situation. He highlighted the importance of the court’s decision but stressed the need to investigate the lack of action over the years.

“I personally had a meeting, away from the spotlight [with her]. It’s a tragic aspect that doesn’t lend itself to communication or exploitation by anyone. I met with her, and we had several calls. Bearing in mind the decision, I do not rule out anything over the next steps of the executive branch.”

When asked about the possibility of appointing an independent investigator, he did not rule it out, calling the case “tragic.”