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Last Updated: Wednesday, 25 October 2006, 23:46 GMT 00:46 UK
Brazil 'serial killer' convicted
Francisco das Chagas
Chagas will stand trial for other killings early next year
A Brazilian man believed to be one of the country's worst serial killers has been convicted of murder.

Francisco das Chagas was sentenced to 20 years in jail for murdering 15-year-old Jonathan Silva Vieira.

He pleaded guilty to the charge, but is yet to stand trial for the deaths of another 41 people.

In court, Chagas said he had been the victim of sexual abuse when he was a child, and that the memory of his abuser had driven him to kill.

The case has been vigorously pursued by human rights groups, who have accused the police of negligence.

They say officers would have acted with greater urgency if the victims had been rich rather than poor.

Earlier in the week, Chagas, a bicycle mechanic, told the court in the state of Maranhao that he had strangled Jonathan - but he denied hitting him, raping him, or mutilating his body.

He also reportedly told the judge he had killed 30 boys - not the 42 the police say he has confessed to.

The other 41 victims Chagas is accused of murdering were all boys and teenagers. Reports have suggested that all his victims were castrated.

In a 2004 interview with the BBC, Chagas said he had killed the boys because "... something was guiding me, directing me. It was like a voice in my head. And it was that thing - the voice - that determined what happened".

He will stand trial for other killings early next year.

The victim's mother gives her reaction

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