Page last updated at 18:24 GMT, Wednesday, 1 July 2009 19:24 UK

Lover 'heard murder confession'

Charalambos Christodoulides
Charalambos Christodoulides's body was found in a warehouse complex

A high-class call-girl from Florida broke down in the witness box at the Old Bailey as she recounted her former lover's alleged confession to murder.

Property developer Thanos Papalexis, 36, along with Albanian immigrants Ylli Xhelo and Robert Baxhija, denies killing Charalambos Christodoulides.

Rebecca DeFalco, 41, claims Mr Papalexis admitted to a murder in 2004 at a hotel in Palm Beach, Florida.

During questioning she lost her temper and swore at Michael Borrelli QC.

Ms DeFalco said she did not realise the significance of the alleged confession until she searched for Mr Papalexis' name on the internet and discovered he was facing extradition for murder.

He was charming - he was someone I broke all the rules for
Rebecca DeFalco, witness

Counsel for Mr Papalexis, Michael Borrelli QC, asked Ms DeFalco to recall what exactly he had said to her.

She held two hands to her throat and said: "He strangled the man.

"Those two guys were doing it and getting tired."

The prosecution claim Mr Christodoulides, 55, was the last tenant in a disused warehouse in Kilburn, north-west London, and had stood in the way of a £2m property deal.

The crown claims Mr Papalexis' company faced bankruptcy if the deal was not rushed through.

Mr Papalexis moved to Florida in 2001 and met Ms DeFalco, a prostitute and porn star, three years later.

MI6 claims

She told the court Mr Papalexis had described the man as "in his way".

Mr Papalexis had also told her he worked for the CIA, MI6 and the US national security agency, she claimed.

Ms DeFalco said two men working for Mr Papalexis maintained the pretence and she was so concerned about his disappearance she wrote to then US President George Bush for help.

Mr Borrelli asked if she had made up her story, suggesting she planned to copy a call-girl who had sold a story about her relationship with the disgraced governor of New York Eliot Spitzer.

But Ms DeFalco replied: "I was not interested in telling my story to the press.

"You cannot call me a liar - I didn't fly all the way here to lie to you."

The trial was adjourned until Thursday.



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