A 35-year-old man, arrested late on Tuesday in connection with an arson attack on a journalist’s car in Paphos on Monday, was remanded for six days on Wednesday.
The car belonging to the owners of news portal PafosPress suffered extensive damage in what the authorities said was an arson attack.
The vehicle was parked in the garage of the owners when the blaze broke out at around 3.15am.
It is registered in the name of journalist Marios Ignatiou’s wife, Stavroulla, co-owner of the portal.
Flammable material was found at the scene, reports said. Ignatiou initially claimed he had no differences with anyone but appeared convinced that it was related to his job.
In court, investigator Michalis Nicolaou said the suspect had called Marios Ignatiou and asked him to withdraw a report about a person who is wanted for a robbery, saying the description pointed to him.
The court was told the reporter felt threatened by the behaviour of the caller and withdrew the said report.
The suspect confirmed after his arrest that he had called Ignatiou and complained to him about the article.
He said on Sunday evening at 10pm he went to a club in Paphos to play bingo and left at 11.30pm.
Two or three minutes later he met an acquaintance whom he named only by his first name who told him he had run out of petrol. This person, the suspect claimed, asked him to take him to a petrol station to buy €5 worth of petrol, which he did.
He then allegedly went home after returning his friend to his car.
However, police officers, after inspecting video footage at the petrol station found that the petrol was bought between 2.37am and 2.44am on Monday, around half an hour before the arson, and not shortly after 11.30pm.
When they checked with the club it became evident that he had not been there either.
In a second statement, the 35-year-old completely changed his story and said he did not visit the club but stayed at home in a village near Paphos.
He went on to say he met his friend and they went to the petrol station, adding he took his friend to the car at 2.30am and returned home at 2.55am.
During the six days of his detention, police will conduct an investigation and question numerous persons close to the suspect.
They are also expected to try to track down the person with whom he went to the petrol station.
The man handed over to police the clothes he had worn on Sunday night which were taken for scientific tests, but they had already been professionally cleaned.