A 54-year-old father and his son, 27, from Paphos, were remanded in custody on Friday in connection with the death of a Bulgarian woman who is thought to have been mauled by the suspects’ dogs last week in Yersokipou while she was out in the fields looking for work.
The two are the owners of premises nearby where a number of dogs, at least five Rottweilers, were being kept. They both deny any wrongdoing,
The 27-year-old was arrested on suspicion of manslaughter, while his father is suspected of acting as an accessory after the fact. They were remanded in custody for six and four days respectively.
The arrests came in tandem with the findings of a post-mortem, the third, carried out on Thursday, that found the woman, 46-year-old Petruna Nikolova, had been bitten by dogs.
On Friday, Nikolova’s body was also examined on behalf of the suspects by former MEP and state pathologist Marios Matsakis who came to the same conclusion.
“The signs indicating it was an attack by a dog or dogs are clear,” he said afterwards.
Matsakis had examined the body at 12.30pm. The autopsy, the fourth, lasted about an hour.
“It was obvious from the door of the morgue,” he said, that her death had been caused by dog bites.
Nikolova was found seriously injured in a potato field in Yeroskipou and died on her way to the hospital.
The court heard that dog hairs had been found on Nikolova’s clothes and body while a witness said that he had been attacked in the past by the dogs, which had been called off by their owner in that instance.
Investigators said hairs were found inside two wounds and they were collected for testing.
Police also told the court they had evidence that the suspects had two more dogs, which they now believe had been put down after Nikolova’s death.
Police said their informant was told by someone linked to the suspects that the unfortunate woman had been killed by two Rottweilers belonging to them, which had been roaming the area unsupervised.
The same source claimed that after the incident, the suspects took the dogs to an unknown location where they shot and buried them.
The source said the other five Rottweilers owned by the suspects were not involved in the incident.
A search of the 27-year-old’s business found various farming tools and an air rifle registered to someone else.
At his home, police found three hunting shotguns – one unregistered – and two air rifles registered to his father.
The third post-mortem, requested by the deceased’s family, was carried out by state pathologist Nicolas Charalambous in the presence of private pathologist Panicos Stavrianos.
The family had requested that a private pathologist weigh in on the case after two successive post-mortems reached different findings as to the cause of death.
Speaking to the press after the third post-mortem, Stavrianos, himself a former state pathologist, said Nikolova died as a result of multiple injuries caused by dog bites.
The next step, he added, would be to try and identify the dogs that bit the victim.
Nikolova had arrived on the island with her partner just a few days before her death in search of work. Her partner, Ivan Ivanov appealed for financial help to carry her body back to Bulgaria for burial.
Reports said the expenses will be covered by KPMG.