Australian university professor Lily Pereg and her sister Pyrhia Sarusi. Picture: Facebook
Australian university professor Lily Pereg and her sister Pyrhia Sarusi. Picture: Facebook

‘Murderer’ pictured where mum and aunt were buried

THE man accused of killing his mother and his Australian aunt in Argentina reportedly believed he was Adolf Hitler and may have been gun running to earn a living.

Details of his past came as a picture of Gilad "Nicolas" Pereg emerged, showing him appealing for help to find the women he killed as he posed on a small retaining wall with a pile of rubble behind him.

Police would later find the mutilated bodies of his mother Pyrhia Sarusi, 63, and her sister 54-year-old University of New England professor Lily Pereg, buried in that exact spot next to the derelict home he lived in with a litter of cats, some dead, and stray dogs in the city of Mendoza.

Gilad “Nicolas” Pereg makes an appeal for help in finding his missing mother and aunt. Later, their bodies would be found under the rubble behind him.
Gilad “Nicolas” Pereg makes an appeal for help in finding his missing mother and aunt. Later, their bodies would be found under the rubble behind him.

 

Pereg has now been charged with their murders as bizarre new allegations surfaced about his life.

Relatives claimed Pereg told his mother Ms Sarusi he was bankrupt and demanded she settle debts of thousands of dollars he owed to Bolivian hit men.

Police are probing the theory that she had given him some money, possibly up to $A100,000 but that he needed three times that to clear his debts.

Ms Pereg, an academic from Armidale, had flown to Argentina to support her sister.

 

The women disappeared on or about January 11 after they went to visit Pereg, who lived alone running his mother's businesses in engineering, trucking and property.

One police inquiry line is looking at whether he was using these as a front to illegally sell weapons on the black market.

They have interviewed a weapons wholesaler who claims Pereg had bought at least 40 guns all registered to him. Only four have been recovered.

 

Gilad Pereg, 36, has been charged with the murders of his mother and aunt. Picture: The Mendoza Post
Gilad Pereg, 36, has been charged with the murders of his mother and aunt. Picture: The Mendoza Post

Disturbing reports have also emerged that the former Israeli soldier, who moved to Argentina in 2007 from his home in Israel, would introduce himself to locals as Floda Reltih which is Adolf Hitler spelled backwards.

The local Jewish community in Mendoza had long distanced themselves from him.

Ms Pereg's brother in-law Amnon Sarig told The Daily Telegraph Pereg had begged his mother for money.

Lily Pereg with her husband John Finlay who went to Argentina to look for her and her sister. Picture: Facebook
Lily Pereg with her husband John Finlay who went to Argentina to look for her and her sister. Picture: Facebook

"With his own mouth he said someone was trying to close an account with him," Mr Sarig said.

"Gilad (Nicolas) spoke to me alone, one-on-one. He was drowning in debts, he was bankrupt. He said people were after him … He said criminals, Bolivians, tried to kill and rob him."

Ms Pereg's partner John Finlay, who has just returned from Argentina, said he was devastated.

"What happened to Lily and Pyrhia came completely out of the blue. Lily was happy to see her nephew and sister, she took a suitcase full of clothes as gifts for him, there was not a hint of anything premeditated, that's the hard thing about all this," Mr Finlay told the Daily

Telegraph

"I spoke to that man (Nicolas) over the wall of the hovel in which he lived, I asked him 'where is Lily? Where's Pyrhia?' He said he didn't know."

 

Stray dogs and cats, some dead, were also found at the derelict home the accused killer lived. Picture: The Mendoza Post
Stray dogs and cats, some dead, were also found at the derelict home the accused killer lived. Picture: The Mendoza Post

Pereg has denied having anything to do with killing his relatives and has sought to blame criminal gangs from Bolivia and Israeli assassins.

Professor was 'highly respected and enormously liked'

Dr Lily Pereg dedicated 25 years to researching ecosystems with much of her work a quest to revolutionise Australia's cotton farming industry.

A microbial ecologist specialising in plant and soil research, she was appointed a full professor at University of New England 10 days before she travelled to ­Argentina and planned to take up her new post at the Armidale university next month.

 

John Finlay with his wife Lily Pereg who was highly respected and enormously liked. Picture: Facebook
John Finlay with his wife Lily Pereg who was highly respected and enormously liked. Picture: Facebook

 

She focused her research on curing black root rot and suppression disease. She also researched the microbial ecology of Australian lobster production.

The Israeli-born professor lived in Armidale for more than 18 years after moving to Australia in the mid-1990s to complete a PhD at the University of Sydney.

UNE said in a statement Ms Pereg was highly respected and enormously liked.

"She was acknowledged nat­ionally and internationally as a leading scholar in the fields of soil microbial ecology and plant-­microbial interactions," it said.



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