Police dither over disciplinary action in serial killings

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Nothing has been done eight months after it was decided police officers should face disciplinary action for botching investigations into missing women and children, later found murdered by a serial killer.

Some 15 police officers face disciplinary sanctions for mishandling the disappearance of seven foreign women and children murdered by serial killer Nicos Metaxas.

Metaxas abducted and murdered his seven victims from the Philippines, Romania, and Nepal between September 2016 and August 2018.

The two children, aged six and eight, were daughters of two women.

The officers were accused of messing up the investigations as they did not take the appropriate action when the victims were first reported missing. The first victim was reported missing in 2016.

The officers involved were initially subjected to a criminal investigation, but they escaped criminal prosecution after Attorney General George Savvides ruled it could not be “proven beyond reasonable doubt” they deliberately neglected their duty.

Despite evidence suggesting that officers assigned to the investigation displayed various degrees of incompetence, there was no proof they did so deliberately.

Criminal charges were dropped on 14 June 2021, with legal services suggesting the police officers be subjected to disciplinary action.

According to a Phileleftheros daily, Chief of Police Stelios Papatheodorou recently requested information from the independent authority investigating police complaints.

The authority had sent a report on the case in November 2021.

Head of the authority, Andreas Paschalides, confirmed he had received the request and will send details regarding each officer’s actions separately.

Paschalides said that a disciplinary committee should be appointed once this is done, and the officers involved will be notified of charges against them.

Army captain Metaxas, 35, was sentenced to five consecutive life terms in prison after pleading guilty to premeditated murder and kidnapping his seven victims in June 2019.

Police said Metaxas, a divorced father of two, met the women online, four of whom were employed as housekeepers.

The first body was found by tourists shooting pictures at a disused mine shaft on 14 April 2019, unravelling the macabre killing spree.

The last victim discovered, the 6-year-old child, was found in a lake on 12 June 2019.