Man charged with murdering neighbor for making noise

Yaakov Haimovich is accused of stabbing Lidar Swisa Yaffe to death; defendant, who has a history of psychological issues, previously complained of buzzing that didn’t exist

Lidar Yaffe Swisa in an undated photo. (Courtesy; used in accordance with Clause 27a of the Copyright Law)
Lidar Yaffe Swisa in an undated photo. (Courtesy; used in accordance with Clause 27a of the Copyright Law)

Prosecutors filed murder charges Thursday against a resident of the central city of Lod in the stabbing of his neighbor Lidar Yaffe Swisa, who was found dead outside her apartment in early February.

According to the indictment, Yaakov Haimovich, 42, killed Swisa because he thought she was making too much noise and because she had called the police days earlier when he tried to force entry into the apartment she shared with her husband.

Haimovich murdered Swisa, 33, because “the noise she made disturbed his rest” the prosecution said.

Prosecuting attorney Inbar Fishbein asked that Haimovich be held until the end of proceedings, noting that he had planned the murder and carried it out “in a particularly cruel way, with a cool head.”

Swisa and her husband live on the sixth floor of the building, with Haimovich directly below them.

Prosecutors said that over the past two years, Haimovich had complained many times to the Swisas about noise coming from their apartment, and had several times turned off their electricity or knocked on their door.

A few days before the murder, Haimovich knocked on the door and complained about buzzing noises coming from the Swisas’ apartment. Lidar told him there was no buzzing sound and tried to close the door while Haimovich attempted to enter the apartment, prosecutors said. Swisa then called the police, who spoke with Haimovich and told him to stop harassing his upstairs neighbor.

It was at that point that Haimovich decided to kill Swisa, and obtained a knife for that purpose, prosecutors said.

The scene of a suspected murder in Lod, February 8, 2023. (Israel Police)

According to the indictment, on the day of the murder, Haimovich heard Swisa leave her apartment and go to the elevator. He took the knife and pushed the elevator button. When the elevator arrived he cursed Swisa, and stabbed her in the chest as she tried to fight him off, then pushed her toward the stairwell as she continued to struggle against him. She eventually fell on her stomach, at which point Haimovich stabbed her four times in the back, stopping when he assessed that she was dead, prosecutors said.

He then returned to his apartment, washed his hands, and left the building.

Swisa was found with extensive stab wounds and no vital signs in the building’s staircase around 6 a.m., while her mother was waiting outside the building to take her to the hospital for a fertility treatment, Hebrew reports said. Another neighbor and Magen David Adom paramedics tried to resuscitate her but she was eventually pronounced dead.

Haimovich was arrested after a police search.

Abed Abu Amar from the public prosecutor’s office, representing Haimovich, said in a statement that it was “a tragic incident.”

His client, he said, was in “a grave mental state” and had been released from psychiatric care several months ago.

Haimovich underwent an initial examination assessment that concluded that he suffers from a psychiatric condition, Abu Amar said.

Swisa’s relatives have lamented that action hadn’t been taken against Haimovich sooner.

“She warned [about him], she told me she was afraid of him,” said her sister Coral Mazuz last month. “He knocked on her door last week and she didn’t open the door. She called police and they told her to come to the station, but he was at the door. We never thought this would happen. We are in shock. Police should have taken him in a long time ago. They shouldn’t have waited for this to happen.”

Swisa’s father told Hebrew media that other neighbors in the building had also complained about Haimovich.

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