A MUSICIAN, killed by a gang of five men in a robbery gang gone wrong, was thrown into a river ALIVE after they believed he was dead, a court has heard.
Thomas Kennedy, 28, was on holiday in former Soviet Georgia when he was invited to have a drink with the group of men.
However three days later Thomas, from County Mayo, Ireland, was found washed up in the Mtkvari river near Gori.
The five men were arrested suspicion of murder – but today the group all denied in court that they had killed the tourist.
However, four of the accused did admit that they had robbed Thomas.
Prosecutors told the court how Thomas had struck up a conversation street busker Vasil Okropiridze, 24, who invited him to join his friends for a drink, reports The Times.
But it’s alleged that the meeting later turned violent and Kennedy was beaten and then thrown into the river.
The court heard that his phone was later found in a local pawn shop, and this prompted a police investigation.
And cops said that their investigation suggested that Kennedy was alive but unconscious when he was chucked into the river.
The court was told that the men had panicked after the robbery, thinking that they had killed him.
Giorgi Balashvili, 28, Zura Palavandishvili, 19, Giorgi Okhanashvili, 17, and Giorgi Kareli, 20, deny murder but admit robbery.
They claim that Kennedy was running away from the fight when he fell into the river.
Okropiridze has denied involvement in the robbery and Kennedy’s death.
Mikheil Beriashvili, a prosecutor, told the court: “The prosecution is not satisfied with the defence’s argument that the victim himself jumped or fell into river.
“We believe we are dealing with a premeditated murder in order to destroy the incriminating evidence of another crime — robbing. This was also carried out against a person who was helpless.”
All five accused have been detained by a court for two months – and face from 13 to 17 years in prison if found guilty.
Friend’s and family of the musician have been paying tribute to Thomas on social media.
His older brother wrote: “I love you so much bro, you were the most amazing gentleman this world had to offer.
“You were too good for us all. I don’t honestly know how we will go on without you, but thank you so much for blessing us with the most amazing and funny stories we could ever wish for.
He added: “I told you many times, you made me and the rest of the family so so proud I’ll miss you forever Tom.
“I love you more than I could… Brinkwire Brief News.