Second Syrian held in double murder probe

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A second man has been remanded in custody for eight days in connection with the double murder of two Russian women in a holiday home at Kato Amiantos in the mountainous region of Limassol.

A 30-year-old Syrian is the second suspect to be held for the murder of Alraeesi Khaiat, 43 and Mariia Gazibagandova, 33, who arrived in Cyprus as tourists, one at the beginning of summer, the other two months ago.

The man is believed to be an accomplice of the 32-year-old Syrian who has allegedly admitted killing the two women.

The suspect was initially interviewed by police looking for two men who had helped the confessed killer dig a 1.5-metre hole at the holiday home.

He is a friend and a relative of the main suspect.

Appearing without a lawyer on Sunday, the 30-year-old told the Limassol district court he was willing to cooperate with authorities after admitting he lied during his initial statement.

He maintains his innocence despite police holding evidence placing him at the murder site on the day of the killings.

The 30-year-old claims to have spent the night before the killing at his mother-in-law’s house.

Initially, the suspect told officers that on 13 November, he had met the 32-year-old in Limassol as he had requested cigarettes and drinks, claiming to have seen the two women in the car.

He further claimed that was the last time he had seen the confessed killer.

The victims were reported missing on 17 November; the date officers believed they had been murdered.

Police have a visual recording showing the second suspect leaving the holiday home on the day of the murders.

Evidence collected from the murder scene also puts him at the location, as his genetic material was found on a condom along with DNA evidence linked to one of the victims.

Police are still searching for the two men who had helped the killer dig the hole, in which he later buried the two women.

The alleged killer had reportedly taken the two women up to the holiday house where they were to stay for a week after coming to a financial agreement with him.

The man had keys to the property as he was hired to carry out construction work on the premises.

In his police statement, he had claimed to have acted alone, a claim which officers disbelieved.

In both of his voluntary statements, the perpetrator claimed that he was alone with the two victims during his stay at the holiday home between 16 and 17 November.

He claimed to have shot the two women with a shotgun after seeing them sitting in the yard, talking in Arabic and making fun of him for the money he had paid.