Last Updated: Wednesday, 29 March 2006, 18:09 GMT 19:09 UK
A Latvian man who raped and murdered a teenager as she walked home from school has been given three life sentences.Viktor Dembovskis, 43, attacked Jeshma Raithatha as the 17-year-old made her way along a footpath near her home in Greenford, west London, last May.
Her body was discovered eight days later. She had been strangled, raped and then stabbed to death.
Sentencing Dembovskis at the Old Bailey, Judge Peter Beaumont said he would never be released.
Jurors took three hours to find Dembovskis guilty of murder and two counts of rape.
A-level student Miss Raithatha, an aspiring actress and singer, was attacked three days before her 18th birthday.
Jurors heard Dembovskis lay in wait for her, choosing a “den” in thick undergrowth where they would not be seen.
Miss Raithatha was raped while she was still unconscious, then stabbed to death to stop her identifying Dembovskis, who had been living near her family home in Greenford.
Swabs taken from the teenager matched Dembovskis’ DNA and two blood-stained necklaces, stolen from Miss Raithatha, were found in a fleece jacket left at his home.
He fled the country four days later after realising he had left his keys at the murder scene.
Jeshma was attacked on her way home from school
Her family, who were in court to hear the verdicts, said her life had been taken in a “senseless manner”.
In a statement they said: “She had such hopes and dreams for her future which was cut short in the most cruel and horrific manner.”
They also demanded to know why Dembovskis was allowed to live in the country despite having been jailed for raping two women in Latvia.
“What checks were made about his background before he was allowed to set foot on British soil?”
They said his sentence should serve as a warning “that the taking of innocent lives will not be tolerated in a civilised society”.
Dembovskis was flown back to London from Livani, 90 miles south-east of the Latvian capital Riga, to face trial.
You have twisted, lied and cast about for any excuse you could think of to avoid your responsibility for the abduction of a 17-year-old girl
Judge Peter Beaumont
The court heard he had twice been convicted of raping women at knifepoint in Latvia, in 1990 and 1999 and had a “propensity” to sexually assault women.
The Home Office said more co-operation was needed between EU states to ensure dangerous criminals were monitored.
But it said since joining the EU, Latvian nationals were free to come to the UK and a criminal record was not an automatic barrier to entry.
Sentencing Dembovskis, Judge Beaumont told him: “You have not displayed one jot of remorse for the appalling crimes you committed against that girl or the consequences to her family.
“You have twisted, lied and cast about for any excuse you could think of to avoid your responsibility for the abduction of a 17-year-old girl as she made her way home in broad daylight.”
Det Insp John Crossley, the investigating officer, paid tribute to the family’s bravery and dignity.
He added: “Despite the overwhelming evidence against him, Dembovskis has fought the case all the way putting the family through the trauma of a trial.”
NRI girl killer extradite to UK
Latvian, July 10, 2005
NRI, 17-year-old girl actress and singer was raped, strangled and dumped in May.
Latvian government said that killer Viktor Dembovskis, who was arrested last month at his apartment in the western town of Livani has been charged and extradited to London by Latvian government.
Viktor Dembovskis, 42, 90 miles south-east of the Latvian capital Riga was flown to London from Livani.
Latvian Police Detain Suspect in Murder
of London NRI, A-level school girl
Latvian, May 30, 2005
A man wanted in connection with the murder of 17-year-old London girl, NRI (non-resident Indian) Jeshma Raithatha has been arrested in Latvia, Reuters reports.
Raithatha was raped and then stabbed three times through the heart on May 16 but her partially-clothed body lay undiscovered for eight days before it was found in dense undergrowth behind a leisure centre.
“Latvian police have arrested a man on behalf of London Metropolitan police in connection with the murder of Jeshma Raithatha. Inquiries continue,” a police spokesman said.
Detectives said they believed she was the victim of a random attack and had been looking for an unidentified man who lived near the teenager’s Greenford home but had gone missing.
The police spokeswoman confirmed the man held in Latvia was the man they had been seeking.
It is thought that Raithatha was killed when she was heading home along a footpath through a wooded area in Sudbury Hill after an afternoon shopping trip, as police recently released CCTV footage showing the girl in a west London shop on the day of her death.
NRI, A-level school girl, 17, found dead
London, May 26, 2005
NRI (non-resident Indian) Jeshma Raithatha was raped, strangled and her body dumped on waste ground 500 yards from her home, police said yesterday. Jeshma Raithatha was last seen leaving her college at lunchtime on May 16, three days before her 18th birthday.
It is believe that Jeshma Raithatha was taking a short cut along an overgrown footpath when she was ambushed in broad daylight. Her partially clothed body was found by police yesterday in woodland at Greenford, west London. The jeans she was wearing had been removed and left by her body.
She was A-level student described as “a delightful, sensitive, caring and creative young woman”. She wanted to be a professional singer after attending university and wrote of her ambitions on several websites. On one messageboard for musicians she said: “I love music. I am a singer with a strong voice. I have a lot of experience. I love the stage, the glamour, lights, auditions and everything.” She says she can perform in English and Hindi and offers dubbing for TV, films and commercials. She enjoyed writing her own song and also a keen clarinet player
Her parents Suresh and Manjula Raithatha told how their daughter’s life “was about to take off “. Her mother Mrs Raithatha said: “She was in a happy state when I last saw her and was looking forward to her life. I dropped her at school for a revision lesson. She usually leaves a note for me, saying something like ‘I have gone to the gym’, but there was nothing. “At four or five o’clock it started raining. I called her mobile phone and left a message. It was getting a bit late. I texted her. She always replies to a text message. About 6pm, I started to get worried. I called the police at 10pm. I got the impression that it was not that unusual for a 17- or 18-year-old to be gone for few hours. I was calling all her friends. They were all linked with each other. Her friends came around at night. We knew something had happened.” One neighbour said: “Jeshma and her family had only been living in Greenford for a couple of years.