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British police join Cyprus serial killings probe

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Agence France-Presse

British police experts on Tuesday joined Cypriot counterparts in investigating a number of gruesome murders carried out by a suspected serial killer on the Mediterranean island.

Police spokesman Andreas Angelides told reporters the British team met police chief Zacharias Chrysostomou and were briefed by local investigators.

The experts, who came at Nicosia’s request, would assist in a complex case dubbed Cyprus’s “first serial killings”.

“There was a meeting with the heads of the investigations, where a first presentation of the findings, details and background was given,” Angelides said.

British police experts –- including a forensic specialist and clinical psychologist — later visited the scene where the search for bodies is under way.

Tuesday’s search ended without results but it is to continue in coming days, Angelides said.

The remains of an adult woman were found Sunday stuffed inside a suitcase at the bottom of a toxic man-made lake southwest of the capital Nicosia.

The suspect, a 35-year-old Greek Cypriot army officer, has allegedly confessed to killing five foreign women and two of their daughters in a crime spree that went undetected for nearly three years.

Angelides said the woman pulled from Red Lake, the fourth body recovered so far, has yet to be identified.

Police are still searching the waters at another lake for the body of a six-year-old Filipina girl, daughter of one of the murdered women.

Authorities have called for more sophisticated equipment to search the two lakes.

Police are also probing the cases of a missing Romanian mother and her young daughter as well as unidentified Asian woman also on the list of victims.

The case came to light two weeks ago when tourists spotted the first body, that of 38-year-old Mary Rose Tiburcio from the Philippines brought to the surface of a disused mine shaft by unusually heavy rains.

That triggered a murder investigation which led to the army captain’s arrest on April 18.

Days later, authorities found the body of a second woman in the shaft believed to be Arian Palanas Lozano, 28, also from the Philippines.

The suspect last Thursday led investigators to a well near an army firing range outside the capital where police found the body of the unidentified woman.

Police have been criticised for not following up leads when the women were first reported missing.

“Unprecedented indifference was shown simply because these people were not of Cypriot origin but came from foreign countries,” according to opposition AKEL party leader Andros Kyprianou.

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