A 33-year-old man on Friday pleaded not guilty to the premeditated murder of two women in Amiantos last year while his older brother pleaded not guilty to being an accessory-after-the-fact.

The Cyprus News Agency reported that the two appeared before Limassol criminal court as defendants in a double murder case which shocked the island. The trial will start on May 9, it added.

The case concerns the murders of Alraeesi Khaiat, 43, and Mariia Gazibagandova, 33, whose bodies were discovered on December 5 as part of an investigation into their disappearance.

The women, both Russian nationals, had been missing from their Larnaca residence since November 17.

They were later discovered to have been murdered after the 33-year-old main suspect broke down during questioning and admitted to killing them and burying them in the garden of a holiday home he had been renovating in Kato Amiantos.

The man’s 44-year-old brother had been questioned earlier in the investigation and was arrested on December 14 after telecommunications data placed him in the Kato Amiantos area during the dates the crime was committed.

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

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

The younger brother was facing charges of premeditated murder and theft as he had used the credit card of one of the victims. He pleaded not guilty to all charges.

Meanwhile, his 44-year-old brother was facing charges of accessory-after-the-fact and interfering with the investigation, which he also pleaded not guilty to. He did however plead guilty to illegally owning and carrying a gun.

The trial was adjourned until May 9. The 33-year-old remains in police custody while the court will decide on Monday whether the older defendant will be released on bail at the request of his defence lawyer.