A 44-year-old man was on Wednesday remanded in custody for seven days in connection with the double murder of two Russian women in November in the Limassol district.

The man is the brother of a Syrian national, 32, whom police said confessed to killing Alraeesi Khaiat, 43 and Mariia Gazibagandova, 33, who had been reported missing from their Larnaca residence on November 17.

Police have also detained a third suspect, 30, in connection with the crime.

The 44-year-old had been questioned earlier in the investigation and was arrested on Tuesday after his telecommunications data placed him in the Kato Amiantos area during the dates the crime was perpetrated.

Police told the court they had questioned the man on November 30, but he had claimed ignorance of the events.

Faced with the evidence, on Tuesday the man admitted to being at the scene on the night of November 16. He claimed, however, that he had never entered the house where his brother had allegedly spent the night with the two women.

The court heard he told police that he had stayed in the car because he thought someone was trying to hurt his brother. On the morning of November 17, the day the women were killed, he returned to Limassol to pick up someone and take them back to the house to dig a hole in the yard.

The suspect claimed he returned to Limassol and then back to the house again where he saw two unknown foreigners digging the hole where the women were later found buried.

He said he drove the pair to Limassol and denied knowing anything about the crime and the bodies of the two women his brother had hid at the house in Kato Amiantos.

The court also heard that the suspect is thought to have transferred a shotgun from his brother’s car to another vehicle before it was seized by police.

The 32-year-old said he had spent the night with the two women at a house he was doing some construction work on.

He claimed he went hunting and when he got back at about 7am he heard the two women mocking him, got angry and shot them.

The women had arrived in Cyprus as tourists, one at the beginning of summer, the other around two months ago.