Cyprus’ ‘first serial killer’ jailed for murdering seven women and girls
Cyprus' first serial killer has been handed seven life terms for murdering five women and two young girls in a murder spree that shocked and angered the nation.
Greek Cypriot army captain Nicos Metaxas pleaded guilty to killing his seven victims in a three-year murder spree in which he preyed on migrant women online.
The 35-year-old was taken to a courthouse in the capital Nicosia under heavy security, wearing a bullet-proof vest.
He appeared without a lawyer and broke down in tears as police read the indictment against him before he was sentenced to seven life imprisonment terms on Monday – the toughest penalty ever handed out by Cyprus' criminal justice system.
"I have committed abhorrent crimes," he said, expressing condolences to the families of the victims.
Metaxas had pleaded guilty to 12 charges relating to the premeditated murder and abduction of the seven – who came from the Philippines, Romania and Nepal – between September 2016 and July 2018.
The victims were Romanian national Livia Florentina Bunea, 36, and her eight-year-old daughter Elena Natalia Bunea; Mary Rose Tiburcio, 38, and her six-year-old daughter Sierra Graze Seucalliuc of the Philippines; Maricar Valdez Arquiola, 30, of the Philippines; Αrian Palanas Lozano, 28, also of the Philippines; and Asmita Khadka Bista, 30, of Nepal.
Police say the accused, a divorced father of two, met the women online.
The victims were mostly employed as housekeepers on the island and disappeared between September 2016 and August 2018.
The first victim was found dead by tourists taking pictures at a mining shaft in late April, unravelling the macabre killing spree.
The last victim discovered, six-year-old Sierra, was found in Memi Lake on July 12.
Police divers scoured toxic lanes, finding decomposed remains inside suitcases.
The bodies of Ms Bunea, 36, her eight-year-old daughter Elena and Ms Arquiola were found in suitcases in toxic Red Lake earlier this year.
Ms Tiburcio and Ms Lozano were found dead in a flooded mine shaft.
The body of Ms Bista was found in a remote pit in rural Nicosia.
The case, involving the worst peace-time atrocities against women in Cyprus in memory, has triggered outrage and horror on an island where serious crime is relatively rare.
It forced the resignation of the justice minister and sacking of the police chief following accounts of bungled investigations by police, who did not take the disappearances seriously because the women were foreign.
Monday's sentence passed down by the Assizes (Criminal) Court is the toughest ever imposed by the Cypriot justice system.
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