A 36-year-old man who said he heard voices telling him to kill his parents was jailed for eight years on Friday for stabbing his mother to death in a Nicosia suburb on the morning of November 11, 2016.
Savvas Panteli was found guilty of manslaughter in the stabbing death of his mother, Elpiniki Kyriacou, 65, in Ayios Dhometios. His jail term starts retrospectively from the day of his detention on November 25, the court said.
Following the incident, he rode his moped to a nearby police station and admitted to killing his mother.
Examinations at the scene determined the woman, who was found face down next to her bed, was stabbed more than once, in the neck and face.
People who knew the suspect said at the time that he lived with his parents and that he was suffering from psychological problems and had been treated at Athalassa psychiatric hospital in the past.
Panteli is schizophrenic and he was on medication that he was meant to be taking on a daily basis.
On the day of the incident, Panteli was home alone with his mother who slept in her bedroom.
He woke up, went outside to his moped, took a 9.5-centimetre blade knife stored underneath the saddle, and went back inside where he stabbed his mother in the throat twice.
He washed the knife in the bathroom sink, put it in a bag and drove off on his moped.
The defendant went to a convenience store where he bought a bottle of water and then passed outside his home.
His father had returned in the meantime, at around 8am, and found his wife face down on the floor next to the bed in pool of blood.
He notified the police whose members went to the scene. Some 40 minutes later, Panteli went to the Ayios Dhometios police station and said: “I think I killed my mum.”
In his possession, police found the murder weapon in a leather sheath, as well as a penknife with a six-centimetre blade.
“The 36-year-old’s act to take a knife and stab his mother in the throat while she slept causes abhorrence, but at the same time shows the drama the entire family lived in because of the offender’s condition, which led to the fatal event,” the court said.
“Words cannot describe what these three people went through on the day in question and mainly what father and son will live through in the future.”
The judge said it was difficult, if not impossible, for the image of his stabbed wife to be ever erased from the father’s memory.
The son on the other hand, is looking at his sentence and is already condemned due to his chronic ailment, which has unpredictable consequences for him and the people around him.
The court noted that Pantelis’ act was not the result of a cold and deliberate behaviour of a normal person, but the outcome of his mental condition.
“It is an undisputed fact that the 36-year-old suffers from a chronic mental condition, schizophrenia, and to tackle this problem he should have been taking, and must be taking, medication that controls and subdues his delusional tendencies and ideas.”
Panteli was diagnosed with schizophrenia in 2008 but according to the court he had gone through a childhood full of abuse.
According to the court, he lived through a terrible childhood “with the only memories of his mother savagely beating him with a belt until the age of ten when she locked him outside for hours.”
The household experienced frequent fights that ended up in shouting and beatings for the defendant.
When he was diagnosed in 2008, Panteli was treated in Athalassa for 20 days and received meds without interruption for a year.
He then interrupted the treatment because he wanted to lose weight and thought that he did not need it because he felt well.
In 2011, he went to the doctor by himself, complaining that he started to hear voices again. He was admitted for a few days and then discharged with instructions to take meds without interruption for one more year.
His ailment prevented him from working, creating friction in the household where his parents, his mum especially, pressured him to find a job.
According to the decision, she was telling him to leave the house because “he has mental problems and is useless.”
The night before the crime, Panteli again had a fight with his mother who told him that he sat home doing nothing like the archbishop.
Following the incident, he went to his room and started thinking about his mother’s words, that he was like Satan.
That word was what triggered his relapse in 2011, putting him back in mental hospital.
The offender was delusional, he saw demons who told him what to do and he began seeing himself as a demon, the court said.
“All these thoughts swelled in his mind, causing him to lose control of his thoughts and hearing voices telling to kill either his father or his mother.”
The court said it accepted the dominance of the defendant’s delusional ideas, but did not adopt the defence’s suggestion that he had been provoked by his mother.
“In any case, it should not be forgotten that at the time in question, his mother did not pose any danger since she was sleeping and was a very easy target.”