António Luís Costa


António Luís Costa

Classification: Serial killer
Characteristics: Rape
Number of victims: 3
Date of murders: 2005 - 2006
Date of arrest: June 24, 2006
Date of birth: 1954
Victims profile: Isabel Cristina Isidoro, 17 / Mariana Lourenço, 18 / Joana Oliveira, 19
Method of murder: Strangulation
Location: Portugal
Status: Sentenced to 25 years in prion on July 31, 2007

António Luís Costa is an ex-GNR soldier from Santa Comba Dão, Portugal, who killed three young women. On 31 July 2007 the court found the defender guilty of all crimes except for the crime of hiding the body of one of his victims, since she was still alive when she was thrown to the Atlantic ocean.


Costa's first victim was Isabel Cristina Isidoro, who went missing on May 24, 2005; her body was recovered from the ocean on May 31, 2005. Mariana Lourenço went missing on October 14, 2005, and her mutilated body was found in June 2006. The third and last victim was Joana Oliveira, who went missing on May 8, 2006; her body was recovered from under a bridge based on directions given by Costa. According to Costa, after he had consensual sexual relations with the first victim and asked for a kiss from the second and third victims, he suffocated them when they threatened to tell.

Arrest and confession

Costa was arrested by the Polícia Judiciária on 24 June 2006. At first he confessed the crimes, both to the police and to the judge conducting the preliminary investigation, but later withdraw his confession and accused an uncle of Lourenço for the crimes. He said that he was coerced by the Polícia Judiciária to confess, but the Polícia Judiciária refutes that accusation. He was telephone tapped confessing the crimes to his family.


The trial started on 4 July 2007. The defender was charged with three murders, three crimes of hiding the body, one crime of profaning the body (for undressing a body), two crimes of attempting sexual coercion and one crime of calumnious denunciation (for accusing an uncle of Lourenço for the crimes). During the trial, Costa claimed his innocence and remained mute except for the first and last court sessions.

The Ministério Público (public prosecutor) asked for a sentence of 25 years of prison, the maximum allowed under the Portuguese law, and said that they only do not ask for more because it is not possible. The prosecution said that the defender acted on a sexual impulse and that from the start Costa tried to be consider insane as a mean to escape the trial, but two psychiatric examinations found the defender to be sane enough to stand trial.

The defense said that a psychiatric examinations found no psychopathy and no promiscuous sexual behaviour. Also said that the rights of the defender where not respected since he was treated as a guilty psychopath serial killer. The defense said that the testimony given by witnesses may not be reliable because of inconsistencies and because the witness discussed the case between them. The police investigation was criticized by the defense that said that some persons where not investigated enough.

On 31 July 2007 the court found the defender guilty of all crimes except for the crime of hiding the body of Isidoro, since she was still alive when she was thrown to the ocean. The defender was sentence to 64.5 years in prison, reduced to 25 years, the maximum penalty under the Portuguese law. The defense lawyer announce that the defense will appeal the conviction.

Media coverage

The case received extensive media attention in Portugal. It was front page in some newspapers.

Criticism to the maximum penalty of 25 years

The case raised some criticism to the Portuguese rule that sets 25 years in prison as the maximum penalty. Some people argued that more severe sentences should be allowed.