A Greek Cypriot army captain has been handed seven life sentences after pleading guilty to killing five foreign women and two of their children, in an unprecedented serial killing case.
“I accept full responsibility for my actions and am ready to face the consequences,” Nikos Metaxas, in tears, told the courtroom, wearing a bulletproof vest. “I cannot go back in time and undo what I have done,” he added.
The three-judge panel ruled that Metaxas, 35, had “embarked on a campaign to kill defenceless women,” according to the ruling seen by Agence France Presse newswire. The ruling comes from 12 charges related to the abduction and killing of immigrants over nearly a three-year period.
He told the court he did not know why he carried out such “hateful crimes.” He also apologised to the victims' families.
Police found 38-year-old Filipina Marry Rose Tiburcio on 14 April, shedding light on an investigation into the six others who were reported missing, including her six-year-old daughter.
The first victim, Romanian Livia Florentina Bunea, disappeared in September 2016, along with her daughter Elena.
Twenty-eight-year-old Arian Palanas Lozano, also from the Philippines, was found in May. Other victims have been named but not confirmed.
He found his victims on a dating website, where he prowled under the name “Orestes”. The women were from the Philippines, Romania and Nepal, and had come to Cyprus seeking work as household help.
The murders shocked the island, with Metaxas dubbed the "first serial killer" on the European island.
"Cypriot society will be wondering how one of its members reached this point," Metaxas told the court. "I have also asked myself why; I have not yet managed to find an answer."