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Friday, September 18, 2020

Indian man sentenced to life in prison for rape, murder in London

In a two-month spate of late night attacks, Vyas raped at least three other women in London’s Walthamstow district in 2009.

By: Express Web Desk | August 21, 2020 6:16:02 pm
Aman Vyas, fled to India from the United Kingdom shortly after he raped and murdered Michelle Samaraweera, a 35-year-old widow, and dumped her body in a nearby children’s park. (Picture source: BBC via MET Police)

A 36-year-old Indian man was sentenced to life in prison by a London Court Thursday after he was found guilty of multiple rapes and a murder. The man’s sentence comes more than nine months after he was finally extradited to the UK from India and over a decade after he had committed the crimes, BBC reported.

The man, Aman Vyas, fled to India from the United Kingdom shortly after he raped and murdered Michelle Samaraweera, a 35-year-old widow, and dumped her body in a nearby children’s park. In a two-month spate of late night attacks, Vyas raped at least three other women in London’s Walthamstow district in 2009.

“We are pleased with today’s sentence which reflects the gravity of Vyas’s crimes. At last the victims and their families have seen the man responsible for such terrible crimes brought to justice. This is a long sentence that recognises the cruelty and depravity of Vyas’s actions,” Scotland Yard case officer Detective Sergeant Shaleena Sheikh said, according to a PTI report.

After an international manhunt and a long-drawn extradition battle, Vyas has now been sentenced to a minimum of 37 years in prison by London’s Croydon Crown Court. In July, 2011, Indian officials were able to catch Vyas at New Delhi’s IGI airport, just as he was about to escape the country. He was finally brought to the UK on October 4, 2019 following lengthy extradition proceedings.

In 2009, a then 24-year-old Vyas carried out the attacks between March 24 and May 30, the Guardian reported. He followed his first victim to her house, before beating her and raping her. He violently raped his second victim in an alleyway. A few days later, Vyas attacked and raped his third victim in a churchyard after following her from a shop.

Vyas raped and killed his final victim, Samaraweera, as she was walking home from a supermarket on May 30, according to a BBC report. Her body was discovered by a passer-by, the next morning. A post-mortem report later stated that the woman had died due to asphyxiation.

“You were willing to kill in pursuit of your sexual perversions and in Michelle you found a victim who fought back … She had to be silenced and silenced she was,” Justice Bryan of the Croydon Crown Court told Vyas at his hearing Thursday, according to the Guardian report.

The police launched an investigation soon after Samaraweera’s body was discovered but were unable to nab the killer as Vyas had already fled the country by then. Law enforcement authorities were able to zero in on Vyas after his former employer recognised him from posters that were being circulated.

The police were able to link his DNA to the crime after his former employer provided them with a water bottle, which was previously used by his brother, who still worked for him. “We knew from the description from the victims he was of Asian origin, so there was a huge DNA trawl from within that area and we still had no matches,” Detective Sergeant Shaleena Sheikh said.

A manhunt was carried out, which finally ended with his extradition to the United Kingdom last year.

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