The 45-year-old owner of a bar that was deliberately burned has been named as the mastermind of the arson that led to the death of a Ukrainian woman, 42, who lived in a flat above the establishment in central Nicosia, a court heard on Friday.
The owner was named by a 32-year-old man who allegedly set the fire in the early hours of Wednesday, police said. A 28-year-old man, allegedly the driver of a large motorcycle used in the crime, was also arrested. The two, along with the bar owner were remanded in custody for eight days. A fourth man, 21, initially arrested was released as it appears he was not involved.
The court heard that the 32-year-old and the 28-year-old, arrived close to the scene on a large motorcycle at around 2.35am.
Security camera footage allegedly showed the 32-year-old at 2.42am coming out the bar on Rigenis Street and running towards the motorcycle, which was waiting on a side road 150 metres away.
The motorcycle is then seen accelerating away towards Arsinois Street.
Close to the scene witnesses found a mobile phone with its light on. It was later found to belong to the 32-year-old suspect.
Police raided the house he was staying at with the 21-year-old but did not find him there. A warrant was issued for his arrest and his photograph was given the media. The suspect was found on Thursday.
The court heard that the suspect named the owner as the instigator, who wanted to collect the insurance, worth around €260,000.
He said he had found the doors unlocked, as had been agreed with the owner, and behind the bar he found a can with petrol he used to light a fire.
The suspect said he did not know that a woman was staying in the flat above and that the owner had told him there was no one.
In his flat, police found a case that belonged to the mobile phone collected near the scene and €1,090 in cash.
The two other suspects denied any involvement in the case.