A man who spent 24 years searching for his big brother was left fighting for his life in hospital after his older sibling broke into his home and stabbed him as he slept.
Martin Rabanser, 35, is said to have woke up to find his brother Ivo lunging at him repeatedly with a large hunting knife after being angered at their father’s inheritance.
His lawyer Nicola Nettis said Martin didn’t recognise his attacker as the pair hadn’t had any contact since Ivo, now 42, left home at 18 after their father died.
Ms Nettis said: "After 24 years, Martin didn't recognise his attacker and cried out, 'Who are you? What do you want?
"Ivo replied, 'I'm your brother, don't you recognise me?’”.
The attack in Selva di Val Gardena, Northern Italy, left Martin hospitalised after he was stabbed in the lung.
When Martin's wife tried to intervene, Ivo squirted her in the face with pepper spray. She fled and called the police.
According to local paper La Stampa, Ivo told police: "I felt a huge rage inside towards my brother, but I didn't want to kill him.
“I stayed alone with him while he was in agony on the bed and I could've finished him, but instead I went to the kitchen, which is where the police found me.”
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Ms Nettis added: "One theory is that Ivo was angry about the terms of their inheritance from their father, which included the house Martin still lives in, and has been nurturing a grudge ever since.
”But most people handle this through lawyers, they don't vanish for two decades then show up with a hunting knife."
When Ivo disappeared in 1997 his family issued appeals on TV for him to return, but were unable to trace him.
Police have now revealed that he ended up in Verona, sleeping rough and doing odd jobs and spending time reading literature in a library.
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He is thought to have arrived back in his home town on a bicycle and lived in a nearby woods, spying on the house where his brother, who works at a ski resort, lived with his wife and nine-year-old son.
Ms Nettis added: ”He waited for night and broke in through the garage wearing camouflage and carrying at least two knives,.
"He went to the bedroom and started stabbing his brother in the chest. He didn't speak or make threats.”
Ms Nettis said Martin was expected to survive but argued Ivo should be charged with attempted murder.
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