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Ombudswoman targets official failings in brutal mother and son murders

Ombudswoman Maria Stylianou-Lottides

Ombudswoman Maria Stylianou-Lottides on Saturday expressed her disappointment and sorrow over what she described as the official failure – once again – to properly assess a domestic situation that led to the brutal murder of two people.

The ombudswoman was referring to the fatal stabbing this week of a woman, 52, and her 20-year-old son in their home allegedly by the victims’ husband and father, 59. The woman, Androulla Yiangou, had been stabbed 22 times. The suspect allegedly also tried to strangle and stab the couple’s older son, 25, who is now being treated in hospital.

Lottides told state broadcaster CyBC that had the family been systematically monitored by the competent services, they would have known about the 59-year-old’s past and would have been able to assess the risks. Once again, she said, authorities failed to do so.

The 59-year-old had spent nine years in a psychiatric hospital after stabbing and his 11-year-old niece killing in 1976. He was 15 at the time.

His dead wife’s family said on Friday they knew he had been in a psychiatric hospital but did not know why.

The welfare services confirmed that the family had been receiving financial support but denied receiving any report regarding the danger.

“No complaint was received regarding violence that included the risk,” the department said in a statement, adding that matters of mental health were not within the remit of the social welfare services.

But Lottides said it was tragic to see the same mistakes being repeated and referred to the suicide in 2019 of a 15-year-old boy after years of psychological abuse. His family was being monitored by the social welfare services.

She said she was disappointed that the results of the findings into the 15-year-old’s death had not been utilised and that no responsibilities had been attributed so that similar tragic incidents could be avoided.

In her report into the suicide, the ombudswoman had said that the social welfare officials dealing with the case showed “utter criminal negligence” and possibly bear criminal responsibility for his death. She also said that police officers dealing with the case were also found culpable for violating police regulations after they failed to inform the relevant department about ongoing domestic violence.

 

 

 

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