NEWS

Farmer admits shooting dead five hunters

A 37-year-old farmer has confessed to shooting five hunters near Agrinion in central Greece on Saturday after an argument broke out because they were hunting on his land, police said yesterday. Vassilis Tsiatouras, the regional police chief in southern Greece, said the farmer’s 73-year-old father, who has been in custody since Monday, tried to take responsibility for the deaths after being told that his son confessed. Police said the main suspect, Dionysis Foukas, confessed early yesterday after being questioned by officers through the night. He is due to be charged today with multiple counts of murder along with his father Lysimachos. «They gave differing accounts,» said Tsiatouras. «We think the son’s account is more genuine. The father tried to assume responsibility, presumably because of his age.» According to police, the two men drove on Saturday afternoon to the field in the area of Kalyvia where they kept their sheep. On the way, a local man told them there were hunters in the area. The 37-year-old allegedly told police that his father sought out the hunters to ask them to leave the area because they were scaring the sheep. He said that he heard an argument break out and rushed to see what was going on. He saw his father arguing with four men when one of the hunters’ shotguns allegedly went off. Foukas told police that on hearing the shot, he acted instinctively and started firing his shotgun at the men. According to his statement, he shot three of the hunters and then chased the fourth man and shot him as well as a fifth victim, who appeared suddenly and fired his shotgun at the farmer. Police said that Foukas had a superficial chest wound. The farmer allegedly admitted to then shooting all of his victims at close range. Police said the father and son then returned to their house which was near the field where the bodies of the five men, aged 17 to 33, were found. Officers said they found the alleged murder weapon at the men’s house and that they had other incriminating evidence. The suspect’s sister, however, insisted yesterday that her brother was at her house between 5 p.m. and 6 p.m. on Saturday, when the shootings allegedly took place. Locals told Kathimerini that they were shocked at the thought that the 37-year-old was responsible for killing the hunters because he was regarded as a quiet and likeable member of the local community.