Only weeks after moving to Georgia to study, a British visitor was killed.
On Friday, October 8, the body of singer Thomas Kennedy, 28, washed up in the Mtkvari River near Kvakhvreli in Gori, three days after he was allegedly murdered by a group of five Georgian people.
Following an argument, a group of guys allegedly beat him unconscious and threw him into the river.
His murder, which allegedly occurred after a night of drinking with the locals, has resulted in the arrest of five persons.
Local media said that the alleged murders left the scene but were later apprehended and detained.
On suspicion of murder, Giorgi Balashvili, 28, Giorgi Okhanashvili, 17, Giorgi Kareli, 20, Zura Palavandishvili, 19, and Vasil Okropiridze, 24, have been arrested.
Vasil Okropiridze, 24, has categorically denied any involvement in the plot.
Kennedy landed in Georgia on August 30 to pursue a music degree in the former Soviet republic, according to Mtavari TV. He studied while also playing the acoustic guitar.
After dealing with lockdown, Kennedy is believed to have told pals he wanted to “move somewhere far away,” and is claimed to have met a Georgian female online before traveling to the former Soviet country.
Last month, Kennedy shared the following on social media: “I planned on going somewhere far away. Georgia appeared to be the ideal location. It’s a small space. There is a lot of history.”
After striking up a conversation with street busker Okropiridze in Gori city a few weeks after his arrival in Europe, Kennedy is thought to have been invited to drink by the men, but was later severely beaten by the group after a drunken disagreement.
Kennedy was alive but unconscious when he was tossed into the river, according to a police investigation, and the defendants panicked, thinking they had murdered him when he passed out.
Kennedy was tossed into the water in Gori city, according to a Georgian court, but his body traveled two miles downriver before being discovered three days later.
According to investigators, the group “targeted” the gifted musician.
A prosecution told a Georgian court on October 11 that after a day excursion to the Joseph Stalin Museum, Kennedy began speaking with Okropiridze when four local “shady” Georgians asked him for drinks.
When Kennedy was located, his phone, wallet, and credit card were stolen, prompting authorities to open a murder inquiry after learning that his phone had been sold in a local pawn shop.
Okropiridze has denied not informing the police about the plot, which he claims he had no involvement in.
The other defendants acknowledged to robbery but not murder, stating that Kennedy was fleeing a fight when he fell into the river alone and drowned.
Prosecutor Mikheil Beriashvili, on the other hand, stated: “The prosecution is not convinced by the defense’s claim that the victim leapt or fell into the river on his own.
“We believe we’re dealing with a premeditated murder in order to wipe out damning evidence from a previous crime – robbery.
“This was also done out against a helpless person.”
A court ordered that all five defendants be held for two months. If proven guilty at their trial, which is set for November 8, they could face a sentence of 13 to 17 years in prison.
Relatives have paid homage to “gentle” Kennedy, who comes from a large Irish family and whose parents Eddie and Cathy have been heartbroken by his loss.
On Facebook, Aunt Patricia Pointon of Derbyshire wrote: “RIP, my lovely nephew. You were one-of-a-kind in every aspect. You trusted your heart and played your music like a genius! One of the kindest beings to ever walk this globe, you trusted your heart and performed your music like a genius! We’ll never forget about you… Tom snoozes soundly.”