Nicholas Mikus (born
September 28, 1958) is
the convicted killer of six-year-old, Teresa Cormack,
who was murdered the day after her birthday in New
Zealand in 1987. He has also committed other sex crimes
when he was a teenager.
The day Cormack's body was found,
pubic hairs and semen were found on the body. However,
DNA testing was not advanced enough to find the girl's
killer. Mikus had been questioned by the police and even
gave samples of his saliva and blood. He provided an
alibi for the time of Cormack's abduction and was
excluded as a possible suspect in the murder.
The case was re-opened in 1998 and
new testing was done at a crime lab in the United States.
The hairs found on Teresa's body matched the samples
Mikus had given to police. He was arrested in February
of 2002. He pleaded not guilty to Teresa's murder,
however, a jury found him guilty of kidnapping, rape,
sexual assault and murder.
Teresa Maida Cormack
18 June 1981 - 19 June 1987
Born in Napier, New
Zealand on June 18 1981 was Teresa Maida Cormack. The first child for
proud parents Kelly and Ross.
On June 18 1987 Teresa
turned 6 years of age, she celebrated with a nice little party full of
her favourite foods and lots of presents! The following morning [June
19] she told her mother she didn't want to go to school. Teresa pulled
on an oversized red raincoat and left her home to walk the short
distance to Richmond School. Teresa never made it to school. Some time
around 9am Teresa vanished from the Maraenui street.
Her body was found 8
days later in a shallow shingel grave by a woman walking her dog on
Whiraniki beach, 16kms from Napier. Teresa Cormack had been sexually
assualted and suffocated. 3 pubic hairs were found on Teresa as well as
semen taken from her body but in 1987 DNA tests were just being
introduced and they DNA taken from her wasn't enough to be tested so
that then wasn't a means to identify her killer.
Brian Schaab made a vow to Teresa as he guarded her body on the beach to
find her killer. In 1993 Schaab was put in charge of the case that for
over 6 years still remained a mystery - yet he did not give up, he kept
the faith and focus of his promise to Teresa Cormack.
With DNA becoming a
popular way of indentification the pubic hairs were tested and a DNA
profile of the killer was founded. The long list of suspects narrowed
down as suspects were eleminated and one name remained - Jules Mikus.
The road was long -
nearly 15 years, but finally justice was dealt and a promise kept.
Teresa Cormacks killer was arrested on Febuary 26 2002. The court trial
started on September 30th 2002.
On October 8th the
trial finished and it took a grand jury less than 2 hours to find Jules
Mikus guilty on her abduction, rape, sexual assualt and murder. He was
sentenced to life imprisonment for murder, preventive detention for
rape, 14 years for sexual assualt and 14 years for abduction. Mikus has
shown no remorse.
Justice for Teresa
By Alison Horwood and Paula Oliver - Nzherald.co.nz
Wednesday October 09, 2002
It was the moment for which they had waited 15 years.
Teresa Cormack's parents clasped hands, bowed their
heads, and softly whispered "yes" as a jury last night convicted Jules
Pierre Nicolas Mikus of the rape and murder of their 6-year-old daughter.
Father Ross Cormack gulped as he heard the jury
foreman read "guilty, guilty, guilty, guilty".
Mr Cormack caught the eye of a female juror and
Beside him Kelly Pigott, who last saw her daughter as
she left home in an oversized red raincoat at 8.25am on the morning of
June 19, 1987, kept a protective arm around her daughter Hannah.
Not realising the enormity of the moment, Hannah, who
is a little older than Teresa was when she disappeared, asked her mother:
"Are we going now?"
Ms Pigott replied: "Soon."
"Mummy are you crying?" the little girl asked.
"Tears of joy," she answered.
Mikus, a 44-year-old Lower Hutt sickness beneficiary
and father of at least seven children, was found guilty of abducting
Teresa from a Napier street.
He was also found guilty of raping, sexually
violating and murdering her.
Her partially clothed body was found face-down in a
shallow grave on Whirinaki Beach after an eight-day search involving a
big team of police and thousands of volunteers.
Teresa Cormack's mid-morning disappearance from a
suburban street shocked the nation and changed the way many parents took
their children to school.
In the Wellington High Court last night, the jury
took a little over two hours to reach its verdict.
Throughout his seven-day trial, Mikus remained calm
and his eyes - described by one witness as "evil" - were fixed firmly
His only supporter was his partner, Shirley Te Kooti,
who sat behind him from the start of the trial to its finish.
The Crown's case was that Mikus went to a primary
school at playtime to find a child.
He found Teresa, and enticed her into his red
Vauxhall Viva stationwagon with a pink jube lolly.
He drove for 20 minutes to a remote part of Whirinaki
Beach, where a witness saw him playing in the sand and picking Teresa
He violated her, then smothered her by putting his
hand across her nose and mouth.
Crown prosecutor Russell Collins told the jury that
Mikus had kept his hideous secret for 15 years.
"He handled it."
Mr Collins described Mikus as a man "science had
caught up with".
DNA testing was in its infancy in 1987, but this year
semen and pubic hairs found on Teresa's body were forensically linked to
The semen was 60 million times more likely to belong
to Mikus than any other man in New Zealand.
Closing the Crown case, Mr Collins compared the
forensic evidence to a steam roller.
"It couldn't be stopped, and the defence couldn't get
out of the way."
Closing the defence case, lawyer Steve Gill told the
court Mikus was not the right man.
He was investigated fully in 1987, his house and car
were searched, and he gave blood for comparison to semen on Teresa's
"That is as valid today as it was in 1987."
The jury retired at 3.13pm. The extended Cormack
family spent the next two hours pacing the courthouse and chatting with
reporters and police.
When word came that the jury had reached a decision,
they rushed for the courtroom door.
Inside, they took the same seats they had during the
trial, only three metres from where the man about to be named as the
killer of Teresa stood in the dock.
Mikus showed little emotion during the reading of the
He briefly squeezed his eyes shut, while behind him
Shirley Te Kooti sought comfort from a Salvation Army volunteer.
Justice Warwick Gendall remanded Mikus in custody for
sentencing early next month.
He also requested psychology and psychiatry reports
because Mikus was eligible for preventive detention.
Justice Gendall thanked the jury on behalf of the
community and said it was not easy listening to such "terrible and sad"
evidence involving a child.
"To the mother and father of Teresa," he said. "You
have agonised for 5600 days wondering whether the killer of your child
will ever be brought to justice."
Turning to the jury, he said: "You have seen to that."
As Mikus was led away, Teresa's family embraced.
They had been told earlier by court staff to restrain
from any outbursts until Mikus had gone.
As the public gallery emptied, inquiry head Detective
Sergeant Brian Schaab remained to embrace the family, including sister
Sara, who was two when Teresa went missing.
Mr Schaab has been involved in the investigation
The family had a private 15 minutes together before
talking to reporters outside the court.
Ms Pigott said hearing the verdicts had been "worth
Asked what they were feeling, Mr Cormack said, "elation,
relief ... and all those other words".
Parts of the evidence were hard to hear, said Ms
Pigott, but had been necessary.
'Teresa needed it to be known and I was there for her.
"Off and on I couldn't help but look at him - but
he's gone now."
Asked what she would say to Mikus if she had the
opportunity, Ms Pigott paused.
"I have never heard him speak so I don't think he
would answer anything. And what I have are questions.
"Nothing brings her back, but we can hopefully take
back those good memories of the laughing, happy girl we had, and put the
ugliness back on to Jules."
Mikus gets maximum sentence
Nov 1, 2002
The High Court in
Wellington has sentenced the man
convicted of the abduction, rape and
murder of Teresa Cormack to the maximum
available under the law in 1987.
The Napier school
girl disappeared while walking to school
in June 1987 and her body was found in a
shallow grave on a beach north of Napier
eight days later.
sentenced sickness beneficiary Jules
Mikus, 44, to life for murder,
preventive detention for rape and 14
years each for abduction and sexual
Gendall stressed that
the safety of the community requires
that Mikus serve a sentence that has no
set release date.
He also said
psychiatric reports show Mikus poses a
high risk of re-offending.
"Female children must
never be at risk from you again...
preventive detention is the proper
sentence for you," Gendall told Mikus.
"It is an
indeterminate sentence and has no
statutory release date, it remains for
Because of the
current law and the fact that the crimes
occurred in 1987, Gendall was forced to
impose a minimum non parole period of
only seven years.
In his summing up the
judge said there were no redeeming
features about Mikus' offending.
"A much loved
innocent and vibrant daughter,
granddaughter and sister was taken
without warning by your atrocities.
"You have given to
them their own emotional life sentences
which will remain forever.
"If you have any
sense of decency or compassion you had
better reflect on the dignity and
courage of those two parents when you
serve what will be a sentence that will
be for the rest of your life.
"Their courage is in
direct contrast to your cowardice."
parents were present at the sentencing
and expressed relief that the trial was
Appearing shaken by
the ordeal, her father Ross Cormack said
he could not really put his feelings
Teresa's mother Kelly
Pigott accepted the minimum non-parole
period of seven years that Gendall was
forced to impose, under 1987 law.
"It's a just a law,
life is still life.
preventive detention, that's what the
sentence really boils down to and the
odds of him coming out are very very
Real Crime Jules Mikus Beyond the Darklands
Wednesday, 6 February 2008
Tonight’s episode of Real Crime: Beyond The Darklands
reviewed the case of Jules Mikus, who served time for an attempted rape
of a young Naenae girl and then, in 1987, for the rape and murder of 6
year old Teresa Cormack in Napier.
Because of errors in the police investigation, it
took 14 years to bring him to justice and Mikus but in 2002 he was
sentenced to life imprisonment. In light of the revelations in tonight’s
show, it’s hard to understand how Mikus was interviewed, had a history
of sexually abusing young girls, no alibi, but remained free for such a
long time before being convicted on DNA evidence.
Resident psychologist Nigel Latta describes Jules
Mikus as a career paedophile and repeat sex offender. True to form he
looks sombre while delving into Mikus’ childhood, where he hunts for
dysfunctional behaviour in the family. In this instance, he didn’t have
to look far.
Mikus claims that he was sexually abused by his
father from a young age. His father was portrayed by neighbours as
threatening, scary and violent while his mother was plain whacky. One
person described her stopping in the street, lifting her dress and
whacking herself on the bottom. One wonders what went on in that
Nigel intones that child sex offending is a behaviour;
a choice. It’s not inherited or inevitable. He goes on to describe Mikus
as having a “predilection for deviant sexual offending” who he says “was
never going to stop”.
The producers of the program found no shortage of
volunteers prepared to talk about the “shy, quiet” boy and his family,
including a harrowing tale from one of his victims. The descriptions of
Mikus sexually violating, Esther, a young gal in the care of his partner,
coupled with physical abuse, were gruesome, and gave clear evidence that
Mikus should not be allowed to roam free.
Miss Prozac always wonders about the benefits of
asking people about a man some 30 or so years after the event. You can
just bet if they’d been asked at the time, they’d have said he was a
lovely but shy boy, but ask them after the guy’s been sent to jail, do
not pass go, do not collect $200, and all of a sudden they describe him
as an isolated outsider who doesn’t have a lot going for him.
Nigel reckons that Mikus was underestimated as a
child. While people described him as “not very bright” Nigel thinks that
this hid a cunning animal with street smarts and intelligence.
All in all it seems he was a bad egg, who got into
trouble for sexual offences from as young as 14 years of age. Police in
Lower Hutt said he was escalating in his offending and they were keeping
a close watch on him. They knew he had moved to Napier, so why did it
take so long to finger him? He was questioned at the time and released
despite having no alibi. According, to the TV show advances in DNA
technology allowed them to test the pubic hairs found at the scene of
the crime to provide incontrovertible evidence.
Latta has the final word saying that Mikus will never
admit to his crime, and describes him as an isolated inadequate man who
will not stop, ever. However, the quote of the night goes to the police
officer who described him an “insipid slime ball”.
Mikus was convicted of the abduction, rape and murder
of Theresa Cormack. He is unlikely to ever be released. Miss Prozac is
delighted he will never be back on the streets, but she does object to
her tax dollars being spent to keep him warm, dry and fed. At times like
this, with incontrovertible DNA evidence the sizzle of the electric
chair look like an attractive option.