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Suspect’s deposition tells of how double murder unfolded

The scene of the double murder in Strovolos (Christos Theodorides)

The man believed to be the mastermind behind the killing of a couple in Strovolos last month said he first found out about the safe in the victims’ home – thought to be the reason for breaking into the house – when the husband asked him some six years ago to help him screw it down, it was reported on Tuesday.

Loizos Tzionis, 33, was at the house in Strovolos to do some work on the windows. According to daily Politis, Tzionis, accused along with three others of killing Giorgos Hadjigeorgiou, 60, and his wife Dina Sergiou, 59, said in his deposition he changed his mind after the influence of cocaine he had used had worn off but that he was pressured by accomplice Marios Hadjixenophontos, 22, to carry on with the planned robbery as they both needed money to pay off their drug suppliers. He said he owed around €6,000 to various drug suppliers.

The 33-year-old father of two children told police that he first went to the house of the couple in 2012 when he was sent by his boss to take the measurements of the windows to fit screens, the daily said, adding that when he returned a week later to install the screens, Hadjigeorgiou had asked him to put some screws on the safe. The safe, Tzionis said, was under the floor of a room of the house.

He said he’d since been to the house three to four times, claiming that on two occasions he had taken his half-brother along.

Tzionis said in his deposition that on the night he was forced to kill the couple, after the woman started screaming, the man attacked him and the couple’s 15-year-old son heard everything through an open bedroom door. He also said the boy had begged him not to kill him and told him to take whatever he wanted from the house, Politis said.

The 33-year-old reportedly told police that, on the night, he, his girlfriend Sarah Shams, 21, his half-brother Lefteris Solomou, 23, and Hadjixenophontos had a meeting where he had drawn a plan of the victims’ house, which he said he knew “inside out”.

He also said that he, along with his brother and Hadjixenophontos, used cocaine before he and the 22-year-old set off for the house of the victims. With him, he took a bag with a pair of sports shoes, a tablet, a sword and a baton, while he also had a knife on him. They took along a dog but left him in the car, the daily said.

They arrived at the area at around 11.30 pm and parked in the underground parking lot of a nearby building. Tzionis claimed that as the cocaine influence started wearing off, he started to have cold feet but that the 22-year-old kept pressuring him that the ‘job’ had to be done.

He then entered the house through the bathroom window that was open and went straight to the room he had seen the safe in six years ago only to discover it was no longer there.

Tzionis said that he then heard a woman’s voice and while trying to find a place to hide, he entered the bedroom of the couple where Sergiou was on the bed. He said he apologised to her and begged her not to scream, but she did and he drew the knife he had on him.

The husband then went into the bedroom and grabbed Tzionis by the neck. After a wrestle, he said, he stabbed the man because he felt threatened.

In the meantime, Hadjixenophontos was banging on the kitchen door, he said, so he went downstairs with the boy, opened the door and locked the 15-year-old in the cellar. He also claimed he explained to the boy how to escape from the cellar.

He said that after thinking they heard the door bell, they both fled.

Tzionis, told police when he was arrested that it was his brother who had killed the couple. The 23-year-old however denies these allegations.

All four suspects face 14 charges including premeditated murder, conspiracy to commit murder, conspiracy to commit felony, burglary, robbery and abduction. The first hearing before the Nicosia criminal court is set for June 13, when the four are expected to be formally charged.

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