Revelations that the suspect accused of killing his wife and son on Thursday in a village near Nicosia, had killed again – a ten-year-old girl when he was a teenager – sent shockwaves through Cypriot society, which has witnessed an increase cases of domestic violence in recent years.
Media reports suggest that the 59-year-old suspect, arrested hours after his wife and son were found murdered in their home in Ergates, had stabbed his ten-year-old niece to death, when he was just 15.
“This man should have been under constant observation since 1976. Instead, we hear authorities claim that they were clueless to what was happening in the household in question,” cried out AKEL MP Skevi Koukouma.
She argued that the incident adds to mounting evidence that authorities cannot handle cases of domestic violence, “either due to incompetence or lack of will”.
Earlier on Friday, the victim’s sister told state radio CyBC that she herself had reported incidents of violence in the family, but authorities failed to act.
Preliminary reports suggest the woman was stabbed multiple times, receiving wounds in her chest and her back as she tried to run away. Her body was found outside the home, while the son was found in the main corridor of the house in a pool of blood.
Increase of domestic violence
The AKEL MP added that the case follows an increase in domestic violence, abuse of children and even killings, with authorities blaming the welfare services for negligence.
“Once, maybe twice you can place the blame on welfare officers, but when cases start mounting, then the political leadership should take on responsibility,” said Koukouma.
She argued that authorities over the past few years have appeared to be selectively sensitive when it comes to reports or complaints from citizens.
“When a woman from Poland was reported to have left her child unattended so she could go to work, police were there in seconds to make an arrest,” she said.
The double-murder suspect was arrested just hours after a citizen recognised the licence plates on his vehicle, as crime investigators in Nicosia were still scrambling to learn more about the suspect’s history.
Police found out that he had stabbed his 10-year-old niece to death back in August 1976, when he was just 15, with some reports suggesting she was stabbed 17 times.
He was not convicted at the time because he was a minor, but he ended up in a mental institution for a long period of time.