By Andria Kades
A 31-year-old man suspected of killing three people in a frenzied knife attack on Tuesday has been remanded in custody for eight days by the Limassol district court.
Christakis Thoma was brought before court on Friday morning amid heavy police presence as a large crowd gathered outside the courthouse.
The funeral of two of the victims was being held at around the same time the court session began.
Thoma, who had shaved off his beard in an obvious attempt to change his looks amid a police manhunt for his arrest, had a blank gaze as lead investigator Marinos Demetriou read out the details of the case.
Two men were also remanded for six days on Friday for helping him evade arrest, aged 41 and 39. It is understood police are searching for more people who helped him and are examining two cars he used when he went into hiding at a house in Lania.
The court heard that after his arrest on Thursday evening, Thoma told police he acted out of blind anger after a heated argument between himself and the three victims, brothers Parashos and Constantinos Ntorzi, 19 and 21, and Aimilios Miltiadous, 24.
According to Demetriou, the dispute was over a girl from Larnaca that Thoma was in a relationship with.
On Tuesday afternoon, the three victims headed to the ‘Lokatzis’ tavern at Platia Iroon, owned by Thomas’ father, Andreas, who is also held in remand in connection with the incident.
There, a heated argument started between the victims and Thoma, who worked at the tavern.
Citing eyewitnesses, Demetriou said the suspect grabbed a knife and pointed at the three men while the father asked them to leave as they were hurting his business.
The argument continued outside with Thoma still wielding a knife as the victims armed themselves with three metal chairs.
The victims asked Thoma to drop the knife and he in turn told them to discard the chairs.
As they headed towards Anexartisias and Aristotelous Streets, the exchanges continued and according to eyewitnesses, onlookers called on Thoma to drop the knife.
Police said he then put it in his waist and claimed he had nothing on him.
As they approached Aristotelous street, Thoma got closer, prompting one of the victims to throw a chair at him.
Thoma grabbed the younger brother Parashos, pushed him onto a parked vehicle, and began punching him in the face.
Demetriou said Thoma then pulled out the knife and stabbed him five times, three in the left side of his stomach.
He then moved onto the elder brother, Constantinos, the person Thoma had differences with over the woman.
Constantinos tried to run away as he kept his eyes on the suspect but tripped and fell.
The suspect caught up with him, knelt down and stabbed him six times, four in the face. He then got up and stomped on his head.
The third victim, Miltiadous managed to run away towards Vragadinou Street but hit some plants and fell on the pavement.
He was stabbed twice, in the presence of Thomas’ father, court heard.
The 62-year-old, who is also held in remand in connection with the incident, was transferred to Athalassa Psychiatric hospital on Friday afternoon, police sources said.
He had shown “suicidal tendencies” and his examination by a doctor was deemed necessary.
The doctor said he should be taken to the state’s mental-health facility for treatment, where he was admitted and held under police guard.
On Thursday evening, after receiving information on the suspect’s whereabouts a large team of officers found Thoma on the main road between Limassol and Platres close to Alassa.
He told officers “I didn’t want to kill them,” according to Demetriou, claiming he had acted out of blind rage without realising what he was doing.
Thoma also claimed that the events had been the culmination of threats and provocations by the victims.
Investigations are still ongoing while police has so far taken 37 statements and are expected to take another 40 from his close friends, family and professional circle. They are reviewing CCTV footage from nearby stores.
Thoma used two cars while on the run and police have arrested two people suspected of assisting him. The two men, aged 41 and 39, were remanded for six days.
Throughout the hearing, Thoma kept his eyes down looking up only once with his mouth half open and a blank gaze.
The brothers have one more brother, while the youngest of the two victims, Parashos leaves behind a three-year-old baby.
Thoma has two underage children.
During the search for the suspect over the past 48 hours, police arrested two suspects aged 44 and 30 in connection with possession of 65 grammes of cannabis, 14 grammes of cocaine, and 12 ecstasy tablets.