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Two men jailed for Paphos sculpture theft

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Two men were handed prison sentences by the Paphos District Court for the theft of the ‘Girl with the Hula Hoop’ bronze statue, a cultural landmark in the heart of the old town sold for scrap.

A 55-year-old man was handed a two-year prison sentence for stealing the statue and a one-year sentence for malicious damage. Sentences are concurrent.

Another 37-year-old man was handed a 14-month prison sentence for destroying the statue.

A 42-year-old woman, the first person arrested concerning the case, was ordered to undergo treatment at a drug rehabilitation centre.

In total, five people were arrested, one was freed without charge, and another person is to appear before the Paphos court at a later stage charged with receiving stolen goods.

The Court stated that the destruction of the bronze statue undoubtedly caused “unpleasant feelings, anxiety and sadness” not only to its creator but also to the financier of the work since it depicted his young daughter.

The Court said, “unacceptable acts and actions of the defendants”, especially those of the 55-year-old, went against not only the creator but all of the town, as the sculpture was placed in a prominent public space.

The Paphos Court said a prison sentence is the only “fit and proper punishment” under the circumstances.

The €10,000 bronze statue was dismantled and sold to a metal dealer for €85.

The statue was found by police in pieces in early February.

The Girl with the Hula Hoop, which was placed at Ibrahim’ Han last autumn, weighed 70 kilos.

It was one of several created by artist Yiota Ioannidou that are installed in various public spaces in Paphos.

The Girl with the Hula Hoop was part of a four-piece collection, which included ‘The Girl with a Sparrow’, ‘The Little Fisher Boy’ and ‘Sol Alter’, a homage to Aphrodite, attracting hundreds of visitors.