"The Ripper of Athens": The chilling story of Greece's most notorious serial killer

the ripper of athens Antonis Daglis

It was January 23, 1997 when the then 23-year-old Antonis Daglis, or "the Ripper of Athens", heard from the judge that he was sentenced to 13 life terms and 25 years in prison for his heinous crimes against prostitutes, in whose souls and bodies he was "taking revenge" on his mother, also a prostitute.

He strangled them in his van

Antonis Daglis, who was born in Nikaia in 1974 and was a truck driver for the "Perla" company, went out in the evenings in his closed van, a white Volkswagen, where he had placed a bed mattress inside, and went to the places where he found prostitutes.

He would choose a girl, apparently at random, and strangle them after or even before completing intercourse. In fact, two of the three girls he strangled, cut into pieces with a chainsaw and then scattered in different areas of the Greek capital.

How did the Englishwoman Ann Hamson escape?

He had tried to kill other girls as well, but they were the lucky ones to get away. They were knocked unconscious when the killer strangled them, leading him to believe they were dead.

One of them, the Englishwoman Ann Hamson, had managed to escape when she told him that she had only become a prostitute so she could get a ticket back to her country. Daglis had forced her into oral sex, telling her "all bitches must die".

The first murder

Daglis had confessed that he had committed his first murder at the age of 18, with the victim being a prostitute, most likely an illegal immigrants, whose details were never known, not even when the police checked her fingerprints.

The dismembered body that started the manhunt

In October 1995, the body of the 29-year-old prostitute Eleni Panagiotopoulou was found on the Athens-Lamia highway. Her lifeless body was in a bad state that shocked the police officers when they saw it.

Daglis, after killing her by strangulation, removed her entrails, cut off her nipples and dismembered her. The forensic examination showed that her death had resulted from strangulation.

The killer had struck again

Two months later, Christmas 1995, a female body was found in a dead-end alley off Orfeos Street in Votanikos. Police were sure the killer had struck again. They had found a half-naked woman and next to her were thrown her clothes and the bag with her personal belongings.

She was Athena Lazarou, a professional prostitute in Athens.

"That's him"

In the squares of Athens, the prostitutes are restless as no one knows who the killer is and when he will strike again. In the space of two months, a total of eight women who went with a client had been attacked by Daglis.

Those who had escaped the ruthless 23-year-old rushed to the police stations and described a man who was driving around in Athens with a white van, trying to strangle them.

They describe him in every detail: A young man with dark curly hair and brown eyes. They are shown photos of security tags and they recognise him…. "That's him!"

Tracking and capture

The authorities immediately began monitoring him and finally on January 21, 1996, they arrested him on Poseidon Avenue just as he was talking to a prostitute. They immediately took him to the police station.

In his van they found the mattress and a box of tools, that also had a cross which belonged to the murdered Eleni Panagiotopoulou.

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"I have something... I can't be well"

Daglis confessed to the crimes, even saying that he had killed another woman who had been found in the autumn of 1992 in Kareas.

"Her name must have been Kaiti and she was probably a foreigner," he had said.

To the two psychiatrists who examined him, he said: "I have something. I can't be well. I don't even remember the strangulations. I was confused.

"When I happened to hear something on TV about bodies being found, I heard it as news that didn't concern me. I loved my mother, but I never forgave her for working in shady bars and unethical jobs. When I saw her making love to a man I wanted to strangle her," he told the psychiatrists.

In January 1997, the trial took place and Daglis' lawyers tried to convince the court that he was a psychopath, but the psychiatrists did not confirm it.

"He described the three murders to me, he answered directly and was cooperative. I didn't see him particularly broken. This is a sexual perversion and from a legal point of view this does not fall under the disorders of mental functions," testified a psychiatrist.

During the testimony of the witnesses in court, a girl could not stand the details and collapsed.

His mother's fainting in court

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Danglis' mother, Fotini, had testified: "My husband beat me, cursed me and also beat the children who experienced these things since they were babies. Antonis was 13 years old when his father died. He didn't finish elementary school. His childhood was devoid of love."

At some point in the hearing, Antonis Daglis stood up and said that he did not want his mother to continue. She fainted and was taken to hospital.

In his speech, the prosecutor had said: "Daglis is the perpetrator. But is he healthy? There is no doubt that he is not a psychopath. He deserves no mitigation."

The admission: "I had also attacked my fiancée"

In his testimony, the murderer admitted to more of his crimes:

"I made mistakes and I regret it. I was going to have sex and the opposite happened. Maybe what I had seen with my mother... I would break out on these women," he said.

"At the beginning of the proceedings I talked of manslaughter… I was not well. I confess my actions, I was beside myself. I dismembered the corpse probably out of hatred. I was acting blindly. I didn't understand a lot.

the ripper of athens Antonis Daglis

"I had also been to brothels and tried to strangle women. I hated them and took revenge on them for my mother. I still hate them.

"I heard voices. In my sleep I heard voices.

"I attacked in 1992 and I have always had aggression. I made love to my fiancée and had also assaulted her. I went to choke her but at the last moment I restrained myself.

"I love my mother. I have forgiven her. I have forgiven her now that she is in prison.

"I don't remember the women, I was suddenly overwhelmed.

"I used to go to Olympiacos, to the stadiums."

He retracted his testimony

At the next court session, he asked for the floor and said to everyone's surprise: “I retract what I said in my testimony I didn't understand what I said, I was under the influence of psychotropic drugs. I accept no blame.

"I only did the one murder.

"I didn't understand what I said in my apology. I learned about it from the channels and the newspapers."

Despite all this, the court concluded: Antonis Daglis was sentenced 13 times to life imprisonment and to a suspended sentence of 52 years and 9 months for three murders with intent, six attempted murders, 10 robberies with intent and with the aggravating circumstance of special cruelty on illegal carrying of weapons and insulting the memory of a citizen.

Shortly before returning to prison, he was asked by reporters if he understood what 13 lifetimes meant and he replied: "Yes, once for life."

He killed himself in cell 33

Daglis had attempted suicide in prison but was caught at the last moment.

Early on Saturday, August 2, 1997, the warden of the Psychiatric Department of the Korydallos Judicial Prisons went to check cell 33 and found Antonis Daglis dead, hanged with a sheet from the bars of the cell. The medical examiner ruled that it was a suicide.

Another prisoner was hanged in the same cell, 28-year-old Giorgos Makridis, who was serving a seven-year sentence for attempted murder, bodily harm, carrying a weapon and using a weapon.

It was considered strange that both were found hanged in the same cell. It was likely that they had decided together and there in cell 33 of the Korydallou prison psychiatric hospital, the tragic end was written!

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