A Greek Cypriot army captain has been sentenced to seven life terms after he admitted to being the island’s first known serial killer on Monday.
Nicos Metaxas, 35, told a court in the capital Nicosia that ‘I have committed abhorrent crimes’ before confessing to kidnapping and murdering five women and two children between 2016 and 2018.
Wearing a bullet-proof vest, Metaxas apologised to the families of his victims – all of whom were overseas workers – before breaking down in tears.
Nicos Metaxas, 35, has admitted being Cyprus’s first-known serial killer by pleading guilty to kidnapping and murdering five women and two children on Monday
Metaxas was handed seven life sentences after confessing to the crimes, and was transferred to jail (pictured, a police van with Metaxas inside – rear – waits outside the jail)
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, and forced the resignation of the justice minister and the police chief.
Metaxas’s crimes – committed between September 2016 and July 2018 – went entirely unnoticed until tourists stumbled across the body of one of the victims when it floated to the top of a mine shaft in heavy rains in April this year.
Police have since faced accusations of negligence and racism for failing to follow up on reports that foreign women working on the island were going missing.
All of Metaxas’s victims were from overseas – hailing from Romania, the Philippines and Nepal.
The discovery of the first body led to a hunt for six others – believed to have been aided by Metaxas – which came to an end last week.
The military man was subsequently hauled to court and charged with 12 counts of premeditated murder and abduction of the seven.
The case began when tourists discovered the remains of Mary Rose Tiburcio, 38 (left) floating in a mine-shaft in April. The body of her six-year-old daughter Sierra (right) is thought to have been the last to be discovered on Wednesday last week
All of the victims were foreign workers living on the island. Livia Florentina Bunea, 36, (left) and her eight-year-old daughter Elena Natalia (right), from Romania, went missing in 2016
The two children, aged six and eight, were daughters of two of the women.
Metaxas was taken under heavy security to the courthouse on Monday, where he appeared without a lawyer.
He broke down in tears as police read the indictment against him. ‘I have committed abhorrent crimes,’ he said, expressing condolences to the families of the victims.
A guilty plea in the Cyprus judicial process means the court will hear the facts of the case and then proceeed to sentencing.
Metaxas faces seven life sentences. The court is expected to deliver its verdict later on Monday.
Police say the accused met the women online. The victims were mostly employed as housekeepers on the island.
The police chief was sacked and the justice minister resigned following accounts of bungled investigations by police who did not take the disappearances seriously because the women were foreign.
The first victim was found dead by tourists shooting pictures at a mining shaft in late April, unravelling the macabre killing spree. The last victim discovered, the six-year-old child, was found in a lake on July 12.
Police have face accusations of racism for ignoring reports that foreign women were going missing on the island between 2016 and 2018 (pictured, officers with the remains of a victim)