Details about a possible motive have emerged in an apparent murder-suicide in Limassol, with reports suggesting the suspect who set a house on fire was upset over his relatives maintaining good relations with his ex and her daughter.
Local media say a Greek Cypriot man who was found dead with a gunshot wound on Wednesday had moments earlier set on fire the residence of his uncle and aunt after threats he had made over their failure to sever ties with his ex wife.
Police said 59-year-old Stylianos Christofi was found dead in a rural area in Pyrgos with a gunshot wound to the head. A hunting rifle was spotted next to the body while his car was nearby.
'I saw the neighbor down there and she was calling for help, so I grabbed a garden hose and started putting out the fire with two neighbors. I called 1460 to report the fire'
Christofi is suspected of having gone to the residence of 79-year-old Michalakis Mangas Demetriou and 78-year-old Katerina Demetriou in Pyrgos village, where he doused the living room with gasoline and set it on fire.
Reports said another elderly woman, described as a the couple’s 73-year-old cousin and neighbor, was also in the house when the incident took place around 12 noon.
A neighbor reportedly saw smoke and rushed to help, with reports saying three individuals managed to pull the uncle’s body out on the porch, while the aunt and cousin were said to have been critically wounded after sustaining burn injuries.
“I saw the neighbor down there and she was calling for help, so I grabbed a garden hose and started putting out the fire with two neighbors. I called 1460 to report the fire,” a man at the scene said.
Fire fighters who rushed to the residence managed to extinguish the flames and police officers cordoned off the area.
Ambulance medics confirmed the uncle was dead while the two women were rushed to the Emergency Room at Limassol General Hospital where they were being treated for serious injuries.
Upset over support for Vietnamese ex
According to media sources, Christofi was upset that his uncle and aunts had been showing support for his ex wife, described as a Vietnamese national, as well as her daughter.
“This bothered him a lot because he believed they had shut him out of their lives and took her side,” a relative was quoted as saying to local media.
Reports also said the suspect was having mental issues and had an ax to grind after hearing several rumors when his relatives let the Vietnamese woman stay with them for a few days after the couple’s separation.
Police spokesperson Christos Andreou confirmed on state radio Thursday morning that the possible motive was under investigation but added it was not the only piece of information they have received concerning what may have led the alleged perpetrator to commit the crime.
“We have a dead suspect in our hands, so it is not possible to get all the answers,” Andreou said.