Acrimonious divorce behind Limassol murder-suicide

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Two older women seriously injured in the murder-suicide arson attack in Pyrgos, Limassol, are in a critical condition following the family tragedy triggered by a bitter divorce.

The women, 78 and 73, are on a ventilator at the Nicosia General hospital burn clinic.

They suffered serious injuries during Wednesday’s arson attack, which saw a 79-year-old man murdered, and the perpetrator allegedly taking his own life shortly after in a chilling case which shocked the island.

The 59-year-old suspect attacked his 79-year-old uncle and 78-year-old auntie, accusing them of supporting his ex-wife following their acrimonious divorce.

The 73-year-old woman was a neighbour who went round for coffee.

According to police, the victims were set ablaze by the nephew of the 79-year-old victim, named Michalakis Demetriou.

Details of the shocking murder and suicide case emerged on Thursday, as local media reported that the 59-year-old had threatened his uncle and auntie on several occasions.

The suspect resented that his family had sided against him, favouring his ex-wife, a foreign national.

Following the arson attack, the suspect, identified as Stylianos Christofi, was found dead two hours later next to his car, about a kilometre from the attack.

He was found with a shot to the head and a hunting shotgun next to his body.

The ex-wife reportedly turned up at the crime scene later on Wednesday evening, unable to comprehend what had occurred.

In comments to CyBC, police spokesperson Christos Andreou said the force was investigating the case, with the bitter divorce being a possible motive behind the attack.

Local media also cited a family member who said the suspect appears to have suffered from various mental health issues.

A local resident said he was approached by the suspect two years ago as the 59-year-old wished to buy a grave and a tombstone.

Asked why the suspect reportedly replied: “I might die.”