In Depth

Who is Cyprus's first serial killer?

Nikos Metaxas confesses to murder spree after telling police he is ‘bored’ and ‘wants to go to prison’

The Cypriot army officer suspected of murdering at least seven women and girls in the island nation has reportedly submitted a written confession to the killings.

Nikos Metaxas, 35, was arrested in mid-April after the body of 38-year-old Marry Rose, from the Philippines, was found in a flooded mine shaft. The discovery triggered a major homicide investigation involving a number of international forces, including forensics experts from Scotland Yard.

After the former national guardsman was arrested, Cypriot police told reporters that he had confessed to killing five women and two young girls. He is said to have stuffed at least three of the bodies into suitcases before throwing them into a toxic lake near the capital of Nicosia.

On Sunday, a suitcase containing a block of cement and the badly decomposed body of a woman was removed from the lake by investigators.

Four bodies have been found so far in what is the Mediterranean island’s first known case of serial killings.

And The Guardian reports that Metaxas has now submitted a written confession, after telling police: “I am bored. I want to go to prison. Bring some paper so I can write it all.”

Although few details of the ten-page confession were made public, police said that the National Guard captain admitted using the pseudonym Orestis to meet his victims on a dating app.

The BBC reports that the body of a second woman, believed to be 28-year-old Arian Palanas Lozano, also from the Philippines, was found in the same spot where Tiburcio’s body was discovered just days after Metaxas’ arrest.

Initially, the suspect denied killing a third woman from the Philippines, Maricar Valtez Arquiola, 31, who has been missing since late 2017. But he then “changed his testimony and confessed to the murder of seven women and girls over the past three years”, the broadcaster says.

He later took investigators to a well in a military firing range, where the body of an unidentified woman of Nepalese or Indian descent was discovered.

Tiburcio’s six-year-old daughter, Sierra, is also thought to have been murdered, along with Romanian national Florentina Bunea, 36, and her eight-year-old daughter Elena, who have been missing since September 2016.

But police sources told local media that he “may be linked to 23 more cases of missing women, many from the Filipino community, that police had assumed had left to find work” in the Turkish-ruled northern part of the island, The Times reports.

Cypriot authorities are facing criticism amid claims that police did not properly investigate missing persons reports about the victims because they were foreigners.

Local newspaper Cyprus Mail suggests that “before police begin to pat themselves on the back” for solving the murders of Lozano, Tiburcio and her daughter, “perhaps they should ask themselves first whether any of these three vulnerable members of society had to die at all”.

The paper adds that police “can never make up for the fact” that Lozano “might not have been killed last July if they had properly investigated the disappearance of Tiburcio and her child three months previously”, adding: “Had it been a Greek-Cypriot mother and child, the police would have turned the country inside out.”

Andros Kyprianou, leader of the opposition Progressive Party of Working People (AKEL) has called on the police chief and justice minister to resign, saying: “Unprecedented indifference was shown simply because these people were not of Cypriot origin but came from foreign countries.”

Al Jazeera reports that police blamed the slow progress of the investigation on a “restrictive legal framework”.

Despite police claims that Metaxas has now confessed to the killings twice, news outlets on the island are reporting that police have yet to charge the suspect.

Andreas Kapardis, emeritus professor of criminology at the University of Cyprus, told the Cyprus Mail: “I suspect police are working all the angles – forensic etc – to make sure all the cases stick when they are brought to court.”

The authorities are facing a race against time as suspects can only be held in police custody for a maximum of 24 days without charge under Cypriot law. But Kapardis said that limit could be applied to each individual murder investigation, and accordingly could be renewed for each one.

“Theoretically, and given that this individual is a suspect in seven separate investigations, he could be kept in custody for 24 days seven times,” he told the newspaper.

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