Cyprus Mail

Women jailed after crime spree ends in fire at former mother-in-law’s house

A 40-year-old woman was handed a four-year jail term by the Larnaca-Famagusta criminal court on Tuesday after pleading guilty to 14 counts of arson, assault, issuing threats, causing unrest, inebriation, trespassing, resisting a police officer and battery.

The court heard that last September Sofia Apostolou from Meneou was reported to police by her ex-husband after he noticed two pieces of paper burning on the hood of his car, which had been parked outside his flat in Kiti, Larnaca.

Removing the papers from his car, he noticed Apostolou running in the street, before she returned and threatened to torch his car.

About an hour later, the court heard, the woman, inebriated, drove to her former mother-in-law’s Larnaca house, set fire to two mops, and threw rocks at the front door, breaking it.

Two hours after this incident, the fire service was informed that a prefabricated holiday home in Anglisides, Larnaca was burning.

The house, property of Apostolou’s former mother-in-law, as well as all equipment inside, reportedly worth some €50,000, were destroyed.

Apostolou confessed to setting the house on fire.

Around midnight on the same day, the on-duty National Guard officer at the Aplanta barracks notified police that a woman had come up to the gate demanding that she be allowed to drive in to see her former husband, who had also been on duty there.

Insisting that she be let in, she damaged the gate.

Police from the Kofinou station rushed to the military facility, where they found the 40-year-old, who has been diagnosed with mental issues and has been treated at the Athalassa mental facility in the past.

But when a female officer tried to calm her down, Apostolou bit the policewoman’s hand.

She was then arrested and examined by a psychiatrist, who said she should be committed to the Athalassa facility.

Apostolou was released from Athalassa in October.

She has also been convicted in four prior cases of disorderly conduct, conspiracy to commit a crime, and drug possession.

Apostolou, the court ruled, exhibited behaviour constituting no less than a “danger to the public”.

Her former convictions, it added, “demonstrate her tendency to criminality”.

Her immediate confession to the police and the court, as well as her mental issues and her alcohol and drug addictions, were accepted as mitigating factors.

Apostolou was finally sentenced to four years for arson, two years for attempted arson, six months for common assault, six months for each of the two counts of issuing threats, 15 days for offensive language, six months for each of the three counts of causing damage, one month for disorderly conduct, one month for inebriation, two years for trespassing, one year for resisting a police officer, and one year for battery.

The sentences will run concurrently, and the court ruled that suspending them, as Apostolou’s lawyer had argued, could not be justified.

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