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Cyprus court convicts former army captain for killing several people including 4 Filipinas

The former Cypriot army captain who killed five women and two girls including four Filipinas was convicted of kidnappings and premeditated murders by a Nicosia, Cyprus court yesterday and has been punished with seven life sentences after he pleaded guilty to the crimes.

Nikos Metaxas, 35, a Greek-Cypriot former army captain has been dubbed Cyprus’ first serial killer for the crimes he committed.

He confessed to killing four Filipinas who have been identified as Mary Rose Tiburcio, 38, her daughter 6-year-old Sierra Graze Seucalliuc, Arian Palanas Lozano, 28,  and Maricar Valtez Arquiola, 31. The Philippines’ Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) said that they initially thought that the Filipinas were merely missing and were not victims of a violent crime.

His other victims were Romanian woman Livia Bunea, 36, her daughter Elena Natalia Bunea, 8, and Nepali woman Ashita Khadka Bista.

Authorities believe that the victims were killed from September 2016 to August 2018, reported the BBC. The women and children were initially reported missing years ago but the police allegedly failed to investigate their disappearance. As a consequence, the chief of police Zacharias Chrysostomou was sacked by Cyprus’ President Nicos Anastasiades in May. The country’s minister of justice Ionas Nicolaou, who was responsible for the country’s police force, also ended up resigning in the same month.

Metaxas reportedly cried when the court prosecutor read the charges against him, which included the kidnapping and abduction of his victims, reported The Guardian. He also apologized for what he did and called his crimes as “hateful.”

“I acknowledge my guilt,” he was quoted saying by AFP. “I apologize to the families of the victims and to the souls of the victims.”

“Cypriot society will be wondering how one of its members reached this point. I have also asked myself why; I have not yet managed to find an answer,” he added.

Each life sentence handed to him was equivalent to 25 years. Five of these life terms will run consecutively. He is not expected to appeal.

Metaxas said that he was willing to be studied by scientists to understand his psyche. The police earlier reported that Metaxas described his crimes to them in a detached manner.

The former army officer reportedly met his victims through a dating site. His crimes went undetected for years and only came to light in April when Tiburcio’s cadaver was discovered at an abandoned mining site in the town of Mitsero following a heavy downpour.

The police tracked him down by referring to the messages Tiburcio sent to him online. He initially denied he was involved in the killings but later confessed.

Metaxas then told authorities where he hid the bodies of the other victims. Six-year-old Sierra’s body was the last to be discovered almost two weeks ago at the bottom of Memi Lake in Xyliatos.

Cyprus’ government promised to cover the funeral costs of all victims as well as pay €17,000 (US$19,387.61) to the children left by the women.

Because most of the victims were foreigners working as domestic workers, the case also led to a national discussion of how migrants are treated in the country, where many of them are paid very little despite working 14 hours a day.

This article, Cyprus court convicts former army captain for killing several people including 4 Filipinas, originally appeared on Coconuts, Asia's leading alternative media company. Want more Coconuts? Sign up for our newsletters!