The suspect in the fatal stabbing of a local store manager in rural Nicosia has been remanded for eight days, while he denies any involvement.
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The 40-year-old suspect, a Georgian national and father of three, appeared before a Nicosia District Court on Tuesday where he was ordered in remanded custody for eight days. He is facing multiple charges, including premeditated murder, robbery, weapons possession, and illegal possession of property.
On Monday, in broad daylight, residents at the outer edges of Oikos village in Marathasa were rattled by screams when a local Greek Cypriot woman, 56-year-old Yiannoula Hadjiyianni, was stabbed to death inside her own vehicle. The victim, mother of two, worked as a store manager at a grocery store in nearby Kalopanayiotis and was driving home for her lunch break when she was killed around 1:15pm.
An eyewitness, described in the media as a foreign domestic aid worker, reportedly has already spoken with police about what she saw. She described seeing a man stabbing a woman inside a car, then getting out, locking the vehicle, and running away.
Police focus on single suspect
An eyewitness has already spoken with police, saying she saw a man stabbing a woman inside a car, then getting out, locking the vehicle, and running away
While more arrests have not been ruled out, police investigators dismissed reports that suggested they were looking into other suspects. A police press officer told Knews a second suspect theory was unfounded and inaccurate, citing investigators who said from the beginning they were looking into a single suspect based on the evidence gathered up until now.
Police Deputy Press Officer Stelios Stylianou clarified during a television programme that information up until Tuesday noon did not yield any other suspects. He also clarified that police were investigating both premediated murder but also murder as a result of a roberry turning into murder.
Officials are also holding back on their comments following a barrage of information in the media, such as whether or not the suspect had bought a knife just hours before the murder. Stylianou neither confirmed nor denied the report, saying he was aware of reports but many details were based on statements that could end up in a court of law.
No flight booked the night of the murder
Previous reports said the suspect had booked a flight for the night of the murder, but Stylianou said he was not aware of such information.
Police also told Knews that another female, a passenger in the front seat described earlier as an ‘unidentified female’ was a woman who lived locally and was friends with Hadjiyianni. Reports said she had got off shortly after the suspect flagged down the vehicle and got a ride in the back seat. The victim’s friend helped police in identifying the suspect, according to some reports, while the 40-year-old and the victim were said to have been acquainted.
During a house search under police warrant, cops found money in the suspect’s apartment. Stylianou confirmed cash was recovered from the residence but added that further testing was needed to ascertain whether the money had come from the victim’s cash register. Earlier reports said Hadjiyianni was carrying cash in her vehicle. Police said the suspect was unable to explain to officers where he got the money according to initial reports.
Cyprus News Agency also reported that during the remand hearing, the court heard about preliminary evidence including blood stains found in the bathroom of the residence as well as on articles of clothing belonging to the suspect.
Dozens of witnesses are expected to give statements to police this week as investigators purse the case.