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Crime had been planned for five years, double murder suspect says (Updated)

Officers at the murder scene on April 19

A suspect held in connection with the double murder of a couple in Nicosia said what happened had been planned for the past five years and that there had been help from the inside, a court heard on Thursday.

Nicosia CID chief Koumettos Koumettou told the court that the 33-year-old suspect was arrested in Ayia Napa and transferred to Nicosia where he told investigators he wanted to spill everything he knows about the case.

The suspect told police he knew what happened in the house that night up to a point. He also claimed he knew who was involved and the motive.

“I’m waiting to give you a statement to tell you this,” the suspect told officers, according to Koumettou.

The man appeared in court without a lawyer and did not object to his remand.

Police told the court they had evidence linking the man to the house on Zallongos Street, in Strovolos, where the couple were brutally killed last week.

The investigator told the court they had witness testimony saying the suspect had told a relative two days before the murder ‘tomorrow I will be rich and I will buy all the houses here and I will kick you out of the house’.

Asked by the relative where the money would come from, the suspect allegedly said he was planning to do a ‘job’ that was a certain success ‘because we have an insider. There will be a man inside the house and he will help us’.

Last Thursday, English School maths teacher Giorgos Hadjigeorgiou, 60, and his 59-year-old wife, Dina Sergiou, who worked for the central bank, were found stabbed to death in their home.

Hadjigeorgiou was stabbed between 25 to 30 times and his wife 10 times. They both had one defensive wound each on their right arms, a post-mortem revealed.

A second post-mortem confirmed the findings of the first one and also spotted bruising on the woman’s inner thigh.

Police told the court the teacher had been found face down on the bedroom floor while his wife was face down on the bed.

The court heard that the suspect left his home on Wednesday at around 9.30pm and returned at 4.40am on Thursday.

He then took his grandfather’s car and left.

Inside the car, officers found two notebooks in which the suspect wrote all the facts relating to the case, Koumettos told the court.

The suspect said he had known the house since 2012 when he did some work on the windows.

A forensics examination found abrasions on his arms and other parts of his body dating from between five and seven days, police said.

The authorities were alerted after the couple’s 15-year-old adopted son went to a neighbouring house at 1.35am saying his parents had been murdered and that he had been locked in the basement but managed to escape.

On the same day, the boy gave police a statement in which he said that he was in bed at 10.30pm when he heard his mum crying but was not sure whether he was dreaming.

A few minutes later, an unknown man entered his room and told him he had killed his parents and asked him where the money was.

The man, who did not have his face covered, got the boy out of bed, keeping his mouth shut and threatening him with a knife.

He led him downstairs to the kitchen and on the way he told him not to be afraid.

“I will not hurt you. I also have a son.”

The suspect asked the boy to open the kitchen door, which he did, and a second, hooded individual, came in.

The boy managed to take a good look at the suspect, whom he described as being around 1.70m tall with a dark complexion.

He was then taken to the pantry where he was locked inside.

Police said the boy managed to escape half an hour later by removing the louvers from the aluminium door, hurting his hands in the process.

He then went upstairs to his parents’ room where he found them stabbed and then went outside to ask for help.

The boy also told police that the man in his room had a black beard. Police said the suspect has a black beard and is the father of an underage boy.

Koumettos said the boy underwent a forensics examination, which found injuries to various parts of his body including bruising to his left shoulder.

Among the evidence lifted from the scene were two objects the boy said did not belong to any member of his family.

The investigator described the objects as offensive instruments but did not elaborate further.

Police said they had information that the suspect had been seen that night moving around the area suspiciously and having in his possession similar objects to those found at the crime scene.

Koumettou said the man had been put on the scene through genetic material found on two pieces of evidence. Officers also found a pair of shoes, which he admitted were his, the court heard.

Police said the sliding kitchen window had been found open. It was still unknown if anything was taken from the house although the male victim’s wallet was missing.

Investigators have so far taken 111 statements and expect to get 90 more from people in Nicosia, Larnaca, and Famagusta.

They are still looking for the murder weapon and the second perpetrator.

Earlier on Thursday, former state pathologist Marios Matsakis, who had been hired by the family, had claimed that the case was a robbery gone bad and the couple’s 15-year-old son had nothing to do with it.

Matsakis, who examined the crime scene the previous day, claimed the couple’s adopted son was not implicated.

“My position is that it was a robbery gone bad,” he told state radio. “I have all the evidence and I can help police if I am asked.”

Police spokesman Andreas Angelides said investigators were not affected by statements and reports by various media outlets.

Angelides said the investigation was looking at various leads.

“What’s important is to substantiate any issues through evidence,” he said.

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