Disciplinary action begins against 15 police in serial killings

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Some 15 police officers face sanctions for allegedly botching investigations into the disappearance of seven foreign women and children, later found murdered by serial killer Nicos Metaxas.

Three years after the murders of five women and two children at the hands of Cyprus’ first serial killer were revealed, 11 of the 15 officers have received charges against them for neglect of duty.

A probe found that 15 officers may have hindered investigations by neglecting to act in a timely and appropriate manner to evidence and reports presented when the victims were first reported missing.

Among those facing police action is a high-ranking officer.

The officers involved have received copies of evidence filed against them, while some have already responded to accusations.

They are to appear before a disciplinary committee in the coming weeks.

Officers are accused of neglecting to act on information regarding the disappearance of the women and the children. Some have also been accused of misconduct and discrediting the force.

The senior officer will be accountable to a three-member disciplinary committee. It will consist of an official of the Ministry of Justice, a lawyer of the Republic and an Assistant Chief of Police.

The other 14 police officers and junior officers will be tried for disciplinary responsibilities by a three-member committee, consisting of a senior police officer and two members of the Legal Service.

The whole process is expected to take several months as disciplinary prosecution of officers is an administrative act, but criminal court procedures are followed.

This means that there will be objections, and postponements, with defence attorneys asking for time to put together their case.

Disciplinary procedures were launched three years ago, in May 2019, by the Independent Authority for the Investigation of Allegations and Complaints against the Police.

The authority started looking into whether officers had neglected their duty after it emerged, that they had not acted upon reports that the women had gone missing.

They escaped criminal prosecution a year ago when Attorney General George Savvides ruled that it could not be “proven beyond reasonable doubt” the officers deliberately neglected their duty after looking at the evidence.

In June last year, the Attorney General said that from the evidence gathered, there was no apparent negligence or misconduct, to a greater or lesser degree.

The first missing persons’ report, involving a woman from Romania and her young daughter, was filed in Larnaca, while the rest were filed in Nicosia and Limassol.

The 15 officers faced criminal charges for not carrying out their duties when friends and family of the victims reported their disappearance.

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.

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

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

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

The first victim was found dead by tourists shooting pictures at a 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.