Several police officers are to be charged over the way they handled the case of women and children reported missing and then found murdered by serial killer Nicos Metaxas.
This was confirmed by police chief Kypros Michaelides and by the attorney general.
Michaelides told CyBC on Tuesday morning that attorney general Costas Clerides has sent the file with the findings of an independent inquiry to the police complaints commission with instructions for charges to be brought against ‘a number’ of police officers.
He said the file had been been sent late at night and could not therefore say how many officers were involved. He did confirm that senior officers would also be charged.
Media reports have suggested between 12 and 15 members of the police force would be charged, several of them in Larnaca.
Disciplinary proceedings are also expected to be taken.
In statements to CNA, Clerides said that the file had been sent with instructions for ‘some’ prosecutions.
Michaelides said that police had said from the start that they will fully respect the findings of the investigation into how they had handled the case.
And he clarified that as in the case of anyone standing trial, all are innocent until proven guilty.
Metaxas is currently serving seven life sentences after pleading guilty to the gruesome murder of five women and two children over a period of two years.
Several of the victims had been reported missing by friends or relatives who said police had failed to properly follow up on their concerns – leaving Metaxas to continue to prey on unsuspecting victims.
Amid a public outcry that at least some of the victims may be alive today had police done their job, a criminal inquiry was ordered.
The inquiry resulted in a 350 page report which reportedly assigned responsibility to a number of police officers of different ranks, mostly serving with CID, who handled the complaints.
The probe by the four criminal investigators also reportedly showed tragic mistakes in investigating the complaints of missing women, since in some cases they did not even check whether their mobile phones were in operation while in one case, it took three months from the day the missing person report was filed to when police actually took a statement from their immediate environment.