By Cara Sulieman
SHOCKED colleagues of a cyclist who was killed in a tragic road accident at the weekend paid tribute to a “charismatic” and “popular” man today.
Workmates of the 37-year-old spoke of their “shock and disbelief” at his death.
Dr Tourlas had worked at London-based software consultancy firm Adelard since 2003 and moved to the capital about a year ago.
Robin Bloomfield who co-founded the business, said: “I think we are all in shock.
“We are a small company of 14 staff and the news has reached everyone in the firm.
“Total disbelief is how I would describe it.”
Dr Tourlas was a senior consultant with the firm and was involved with safety work in the defence and nuclear sectors.
He commuted from London to Edinburgh once a fortnight and colleagues said he was a keen cyclist, walker and amateur chef with a passion for Japanese food.
Fellow consultant Daniel Sheridan said his friend was “much missed” every time he returned to Edinburgh, saying that the “atmosphere in the office changed completely” when he was gone.
Mr Sheridan said: “He was a lively, energetic person and always had a story to tell or a joke to make and his enthusiasm for life was infectious.
“Only Kostas could persuade us all to leave work on time and accompany him to the pub.
“He will be missed by all of us.”
There are plans to create a scholarship fund in honour of Dr Tourlas with Edinburgh University where the software analyst studied and worked.
Senior lecturer Stuart Anderson worked closely with Dr Tourlas and praised the “fun-loving” but “serious” student.
Mr Anderson said: “Kostas was pretty academic but always fun-loving.
“I met him in 1996 when he came to do his Masters programme.
“He stayed on and did his PhD with me in 2001 and after graduating we worked on a research project together.
“He was a very talented guy and (his death) is a real waste.
“When he went to London he really missed Scotland and used to listen to Radio Scotland on the internet.
“As a consequence when he came back he had acquired the most phenomenal West of Scotland accent. It was a (blend of) Greek and west of Scotland.
“The first time I heard it you could have knocked me down with a feather.”
Mr Anderson added that many of the university staff who knew Dr Tourlas were “absolutely devastated”.
He said: “It’s unbelievable.
“I got an e-mail from him last Thursday and we were going to meet yesterday so I was expecting to see him.
“It was a complete shock when heard that he had died.
“There’s quite a lot of people around here that knew him and everyone is absolutely devastated that he is gone just like that.
“He was a really lively colleague.”
Dr Tourlas’ family today issued a touching tribute, saying his “absence will be felt forever”.
The statement – issued through police – paid tribute to a “down-to-earth” man who made his family “very proud”.
They said: “While Kostas came across as down-to-earth and saw his achievements as normal, his family knew him as a person who was determined to lead a successful life and were always very proud of him.
“Although originally from Greece, Kostas quickly became a naturalised Scot and eventually adopted dual Greek and British citizenship.
“He was proud of his Greek roots and equally as proud of his new Scottish roots.
“Over the last couple of years, he had found deep happiness and love with his partner, with whom he could share, in particular, his passion for the outdoors and exploration of Scottish history and culture.
“He was professional, hard-working and dedicated. The loss is immeasurable.
“There are countless people who will miss him. His personality could fill a room and his absence will be felt forever.”
Andrzej Stankiewicz, 42, appeared on petition at Edinburgh Sheriff Court on Monday charged with causing Dr Tourlas’ death by dangerous driving while allegedly drunk.
He made no plea or declaration and was remanded in custody to appear at a later date.