Canadian police charge alleged 'serial killer' with five counts of murder

TORONTO (Reuters) - Police in Canada’s largest city of Toronto on Monday accused a landscaper of murdering five people and placing their dead bodies in large planters on his clients’ properties across the city in an “unprecedented” case.

Police officers guard the grounds of a house they had searched, after a landscaper was accused of murdering five people and putting their dead bodies in large planters on his clients' properties, in Toronto, Ontario, Canada January 29, 2018. REUTERS/Chris Donovan

The deaths are tied to a series of missing-persons cases in Toronto’s gay village.

Toronto police said they had laid a total of five charges of first-degree murder against Bruce McArthur, 66.

McArthur, who is in custody, was originally charged with two counts of first-degree murder earlier this month.

“It’s an alleged serial killer,” Detective-Sergeant Hank Idsinga told reporters at a news briefing, describing the case as “unprecedented.”

“The city of Toronto has never seen anything like this,” he said.

Idsinga said police had found bodies hidden at the bottom of large planters at multiple addresses, and believed there were more victims than the five people identified so far.

Police are searching other properties where McArthur has done landscaping work, he said.

“We do believe there are more and I have no idea how many more there are going to be,” he added.

McArthur is accused of killing Selim Esen, Andrew Kinsman, Majeed Kayhan, Soroush Marmudi and Dean Lisowick.

Reporting by Anna Mehler Paperny; Editing by Bernadette Baum