Police on Thursday had in custody a man suspected of stabbing his wife and son to death and injuring his second son earlier in the day at their home in the village of Ergates outside Nicosia.

The 59-year-old suspect had fled the scene but was located and arrested by police a few hours later. He had been hiding in an abandoned shed in the Halepianes area of Tseri. The suspect had two knives on his person, and assaulted the police officers but was eventually subdued.

The 59-year-old allegedly stabbed to death his wife, 51, and son, 20, and injured his other son, 25. The incident took place at around 6.30am.

The victims have since been named as Androulla Avraxidou and Stelios Yiangou. Post-mortems are scheduled for Friday, pending the results of PCR tests for the coronavirus.

Police said the 59-year-old suspect has been examined by a forensic pathologist and a psychiatrist. According to media reports, the man was found mentally fit to attend his arraignment in court.

The injured 25-year-old was rushed to hospital where he was treated for a knife wound to the throat. His condition is not life threatening, police said.

The wife was found outside the family’s home while the son was inside.

The scene was discovered by the wife’s sister who lives next door and heard shouting.

Assistant to the chief of police Demetris Demetriou told reporters the suspect had fled in his car. He said there did not appear to be any prior reports of violence in the family.

Police forensics officers and three state pathologists were investigating the scene, which has been screened off.

Head of the community in Ergates Andreas Georgiou said they had not expected what had unfolded in their village.

The family appeared to be having financial problems and they were under the care of the welfare office while the community also tried to help them.

“We are seeing something that was really not expected,” he said. “We know the family well,” he said, adding that there had not been any trouble previously.

“As far as I know the family was being minded by the welfare services,” he said.

The community leader said whenever they needed something they asked the council.

“The last thing they asked for was whether we could take their dogs to the shelter,” Georgiou said. He told the Cyprus Mail later that the family had five dogs but they never got around to take them to the shelter.

The community leader expressed shock, reiterating that there had not been any signs to foretell the tragedy. At this stage, there did not appear to be a motive for the murders and Georgiou said he did not know of any other issues.

It appears no one in the family had a steady job. In recent days, Georgiou said, the suspect had been collecting and selling scrap metal.

At some point in the past, they had a flock of sheep.

The family mostly kept to themselves and were not seen around the village frequently.

The council helped them by providing food packages or shopping coupons during Christmas and Easter, the community leader said.

The 25-year-old son reportedly told police that his father was suffering from mental problems but he had been fine the previous night.

The son said his father was in a state of rage and had killed his mother first, chasing her outside. Reports said the two victims had multiple knife wounds. The suspect had tried first to strangle the 25-year-old with a cable, before stabbing him.

An eyewitness may have saved the 25-year-old as the suspect let go of him after he saw the man coming.

“He saw me and he ran,” the witness said.

Reports said the suspect will undergo psychiatric evaluation to determine whether he can follow legal procedures.

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The scene (Christos Theodorides)