A 21-year-old man was remanded on Wednesday for eight days after admitting to attacking and killing 76-year-old Giorgos Mavrommatis last Sunday and setting the victim’s house on fire to destroy evidence.
Mavrommatis was initially thought to have died after fire broke out in his Larnaca home last Sunday, but the results of the post-mortem examination showed that he had died violently.
The 21-year-old, who is known to the police for a series of thefts and break-ins, was arrested after he was seen in the footage of surveillance cameras located near the victim’s house.
After his arrest, the 21-year-old told police it was not the first time he had broken into the home of the victim.
Police officers were able to link the suspect with the case following a report by a 96-year-old woman that a man had snatched her handbag and pushed to the ground at around 7am on Sunday not far from Mavrommatis’ house.
Some 10 minutes later the fire service was alerted of a fire in Mavrommatis’ house. The 76-year-old was found dead in his bedroom by the firemen who had gone to put out the blaze. At the time it was thought that Mavrommatis had tried to put out the fire but lost his balance and fell on the floor.
The footage police secured showed the suspect, before snatching the 96-year-old woman’s handbag, entering on foot the street where Mavrommatis’ house is located.
When he was arrested, police told court that the suspect said: “I admit to everything, I killed the old man and set him on fire.”
Police said that he admitted to breaking into Mavrommatis’ house at around 5.30 am on Sunday to rob the 76-year-old. He said he went into the bedroom and got angry after Mavrommatis hit him. The 21-year-old said he pulled the pensioner out of his bed and onto the floor and pressed his foot onto his chest until the man stopped breathing.
After making sure the victim was dead, he said he stole €50 he found in the room and used a lighter to set the mattress on fire to destroy evidence.
The suspect then, according to the police, said he left Mavrommatis’ house and walked up to the street where he robbed the 96-year-old.
During a search of the suspect’s house, police located the clothes he was wearing during the break in and robbery and shoes with specks of blood on them.
The 21-year-old, according to the police, admitted to breaking into Mavrommatis’ house and robbing the victim also on January 13. At the time, he said, he had forcibly taken €100 from the 76-year-old.
The defence lawyer for the 21-year-old, who applied for legal aid, had no objection to his client’s custody, noting that the suspect was suffering from chronic health issues and was on medication.
During the court hearing, the 21-year-old was reportedly bursting into laughter urging judge, Xenophon Xenophontos, to reprimand him.
The cause of death of Mavrommatis was initially a puzzle as examination of the body at the scene and the post mortem did not match the believed cause of death.
The post mortem carried out on Monday, found multiple fractures to the body and lung injuries, caused to the victim before the fire.
It was after state pathologist, Eleni Antoniou, who had carried out the post mortem, sent a blood sample to the state lab that it emerged that Mavrommatis had died before the fire as no carbonylhemoglobin was detected in the blood, indicating he did not die by inhaling carbon monoxide.