Cypriot police search for more victims of suspected serial killer

By Michele Kambas NICOSIA (Reuters) - Cypriot police searched on Friday for more victims of a suspected serial killer amid mounting public accusations that authorities bungled investigations and failed to heed concern about the safety of women. Several hundred people attended a candlelit vigil in the Cypriot capital Nicosia on Friday evening, and observed a minute's silence for what are believed to be seven victims, all foreign women. The main opposition party, the left-wing AKEL, called for the resignation of the justice minister and police chief over their handling of the case

Reuters April 27, 2019 00:07:11 IST
Cypriot police search for more victims of suspected serial killer

Cypriot police search for more victims of suspected serial killer

By Michele Kambas

NICOSIA (Reuters) - Cypriot police searched on Friday for more victims of a suspected serial killer amid mounting public accusations that authorities bungled investigations and failed to heed concern about the safety of women.

Several hundred people attended a candlelit vigil in the Cypriot capital Nicosia on Friday evening, and observed a minute's silence for what are believed to be seven victims, all foreign women.

The main opposition party, the left-wing AKEL, called for the resignation of the justice minister and police chief over their handling of the case.

Justice Minister Ionas Nicolaou and Police Chief Zacharias Chrysostomou have said there will be an investigation into any perceived shortcomings.

Police sources said the suspect, a 35-year-old army officer who has been in detention for a week, has confessed to seven killings. This would make it by far the worst peacetime crime committed against women on the island in living memory.

The bodies of three women, including two thought to be from the Philippines, have been recovered. Police sources said the suspect had indicated the location of the third body, found on Thursday, and had said the person was "either Indian or Nepali".

Police were combing three different locations west of the capital Nicosia in a search for more bodies.

A team of British detectives is due to arrive on the island on Monday to help with the investigation, police said.

"These women came here to earn a living, to help their families. They lived away from their families. And the earth swallowed them, nobody was interested," AKEL lawmaker Irene Charalambides told Reuters.

"This killer will be judged by the court but the other big question is the criminal indifference shown by the others when the reports first surfaced. I believe, as does my party, that the justice minister and the police chief should resign. They are irrevocably exposed."

Police have said they will investigate any perceived shortcomings in their handling of the case.

VULNERABILITY

One person who did attempt to alert the authorities over the disappearances, a 70-year-old Cypriot citizen, has said his motives were questioned by police.

Several hundred people gathered for Friday's vigil, organised on social media on Orthodox Good Friday which is one of the holiest dates on the Christian calendar.

"We are here ... for our victims. We ask for justice for all these girls that were brutally murdered. It is a very devastating time, because we are all just here to work," said Lissa Jataas, of the OBRERAS Empowered Filipino Migrant Movement in Cyprus.

"Nobody deserves this," she told Reuters, her voice breaking.

The bodies of the two Filipino women, reported missing in May and August 2018, were found in an abandoned mine shaft this month. Police discovered the body of the third woman at an army firing range about 14 km (9 miles) from the mine shaft.

Police are now searching for the six-year-old daughter of the first victim found, a Romanian mother who disappeared with her eight-year-old child in 2016, and a woman from the Philippines who vanished in December 2017.

(Reporting By Michele Kambas; Editing by Gareth Jones and Frances Kerry)

This story has not been edited by Firstpost staff and is generated by auto-feed.

Updated Date:

TAGS:

Find latest and upcoming tech gadgets online on Tech2 Gadgets. Get technology news, gadgets reviews & ratings. Popular gadgets including laptop, tablet and mobile specifications, features, prices, comparison.

also read

Airline easyJet's first-half loss widens as COVID-19 hurts travel, seeks cash
Business

Airline easyJet's first-half loss widens as COVID-19 hurts travel, seeks cash

(Reuters) - Budget airline easyJet on Wednesday reported a bigger loss for the first half as it took a 160-million-pound hit ($199 million) from failed fuel hedging as the COVID-19 pandemic brought global air travel to a virtual standstill. The London-listed company reported a pretax loss of 353 million pounds for the six months ended March 31 from a loss of 272 million pounds last year. Revenue rose 1.6%, though easyJet took a hit from strikes in France, and storms Ciara and Dennis.

Bayer settles Roundup cancer lawsuits for up to $10.9 billion
Business

Bayer settles Roundup cancer lawsuits for up to $10.9 billion

FRANKFURT (Reuters) - Bayer AG on Wednesday said it agreed to settle U.S.

Sudan to establish trade financing fund in face of forex shortage
Business

Sudan to establish trade financing fund in face of forex shortage

KHARTOUM (Reuters) - Sudan will create a trade financing fund with a portfolio of $2 billion to aid the import and export of key commodities such as wheat, the Finance Ministry said, as the supply of foreign currency in circulation dwindles. Sudan's economy is at risk of freefall, hammered by an inflation rate of more than 100% and frequent shortages of bread, fuel and medicine. The country's currency has also fallen to a record low of 150 Sudanese pounds to the dollar on the black market compared with 55 at the official rate