The Paphos district court on Friday remanded Hussein Farouh, 42, who is suspected of murdering his estranged wife in Paphos earlier this week, for eight days.
The victim, 31-year-old Ghada Al Nouri, was a mother of seven children, three of whom were present when she was stabbed and killed with a knife.
The suspect, a Syrian national, who was arrested on Thursday in Limassol after a tip-off, appeared in court under strict security arrangements.
Judge Christodoulos Christodoulou, who ordered the detention, referred to the testimony given by one of the children who was present when the crime was committed.
According to the investigating officer, at 9.55am on Monday, the suspect phoned his brother and asked him to watch over his children because he would soon be travelling far away. His brother told the court that when he had asked Farouh what he meant by the comment, the suspect replied that he should leave him alone.
Three of the five children who lived with their mother were at home at the time of the murder while the other two, aged 11 and 12, were at his brother’s home, the court heard. The suspect later took the three children to his brother as well.
On Tuesday, a day after the killing, the investigator said, a videotaped testimony was taken from one of the children who explained that while sleeping with its mother and other siblings, it woke up to loud noises by the parents. The child said it saw its father stabbing his wife and drew a picture of the father stabbing her.
Further evidence was obtained from a person who knows Farouh, who said the man repeatedly uttered the phrase “I will slaughter her” while they were talking.
One item police are still looking for is a mobile phone of the victim, which was not found at the crime scene and which is believed to have been stolen by the suspect.
The court heard that on Tuesday Farouh went to the Limassol residence where he was arrested on Thursday and asked the 11 people staying there if he could stay until he found work and a place to live. The investigating officer told the court that two days later one of the tenants found out he was a wanted man who had given them a false name.
Farouh had reportedly asked the tenants to help him flee to the north but they notified police instead.
The Syrian woman was killed early in the morning on Monday in the Paphos flat where she was staying with five of her seven children, aged between three and twelve. The other two, 16 and 17, reside in Syria. She was found hours later by two welfare officers on the floor of the living room during a routine visit. A post mortem confirmed she died from internal bleeding as a result of knife wounds to her chest.
The suspect denies killing her.
On Tuesday, the social services strongly rejected suggestions that the department had failed the woman.
Social workers were in constant contact with the victim and she had been given the personal number of the case officer, they said. They also offered to host her at a shelter for victims of violence.
But the UN High Commission for Refugees on Wednesday said the woman had been identified as a potential victim of domestic violence over a year ago when she arrived on the island.
The agency commented more needs to be done and called on the authorities to effectively address the shortcomings of the state support system for refugee women.
According to the agency, it is essential to introduce standard procedures to identify potential domestic abuse victims upon their arrival on the island as to be able to respond immediately and adequately to the needs of migrant women who lack social protection.