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Serial rapist found guilty of murdering woman from Hainault

Aman Vyas fled to India after raping several women and killing one of them (credit: Metropolitan Police) 

A man has been found guilty of raping four women and murdering one of his victims in Walthamstow. 

Aman Vyas, 35, of no fixed address, was convicted of the murder of Michelle Samaraweera, one count of GBH and six counts of rape on Thursday, 30 July after a trail at the Old Bailey. 

He will be sentenced at Croydon Crown Court on Friday, 21 August. 

Michelle Samaraweera, 35, from Hainault, was raped and murdered in a park in Walthamstow (credit: Metropolitan Police) 

The crimes were carried out at various locations across Walthamstow between 24 March 2009 and 30 May 2009. 

Vyas, who was 24 years old at the time, would go out during the early hours of the morning looking for lone women to target. He normally operated in a small area centred around Markhouse Road. 

His first victim, a 59-year-old woman, had gone to top up her meter key when Vyas began stalking her on Tuesday, 24 March 2009. 

Vyas followed her to the block of flats where she lived and forced his way into her home.

The woman asked him to leave but Vyas repeatedly punched her in the face and then raped her. Afterwards he apologised for his actions and left. 

The victim was taken to hospital where doctors noted bruising and swelling to her face and bleeding in the white of one of her eyes. 

On Wednesday, 22 April 2009 Vyas approached his second victim, a 46-year-old woman, and pretended he was looking to buy drugs.

She agreed to take him somewhere to buy them but when they arrived he pulled out a knife and forced her down an alley.

Vyas punched the victim when she started screaming, raped her and then fled the area. 

The third victim was a 32-year-old woman who was attacked near St. Saviour’s Church while walking home on Wednesday, 29 April 2009. 

A member of the public heard screaming and moaning coming from the graveyard and police found the victim with a deep cut to her head and her clothing awry. She was also hypothermic. 

She was taken to hospital where her wound was stitched and she was found to have a fractured jaw and nose.

The victim only remembers waking up in hospital after visiting a local supermarket. She spent more than a month in the medical facility being treated for her injuries. 

The final victim was widow Michelle Samaraweera, 35, who lived alone in Hainault but had a boyfriend in Walthamstow. 

CCTV showed Vyas followed her into a shop in Markhouse Road shortly before 1.30am on Saturday, 30 May. 

Vyas stalked her down Queen’s Road to a small park where he raped and strangled Ms Samaraweera to death.

CCTV footage of Vyas following Ms Samaraweera into the shop (credit: Metropolitan Police)

Members of the public heard screams coming from the park but police were not called. A dog walker found the victim’s partially clothed body at around 5.15am. 

Police were able to use DNA evidence to link each of the attacks, however, Vyas was not on their database. 

Officers had visited 1,815 addresses and took 750 DNA swabs by late August 2019. They also made multiple arrests and conducted a media appeal but were unable to identify the suspect. 

Vyas was only identified when police sent out 60,525 posters, which had a picture of the suspect from the shop CCTV, to addresses in the Walthamstow area in November 2010.

A man recognised Vyas as a former employee of his and informed police he had left the country on 2 July 2009. 

Detectives discovered Vyas had bought a one-way ticket to India a month after the murder and just a few days after a Crimewatch appeal about the case. 

Indian officials arrested him at New Delhi Airport on 4 July 2011. Extradition proceedings commenced but he was not brought back to the UK until Friday, 4 October. 

He was arrested and charged with the offences at Heathrow Airport. 

“There has been a long wait for justice in this case but finally the victims and their families have seen the person responsible brought to account,” said Detective Sergeant Shaleena Sheikh.

“Vyas did all he could to avoid responsibility for his crimes. He fled abroad and then added to the distress of those he hurt by making them go through the ordeal of a trial. However, the injuries Vyas inflicted told the true story of this violent criminal and the jury have seen right through his lies.

“Although we had DNA from the scenes of his crimes, Vyas was not on the DNA database and was a complete stranger to his victims; to bring him to justice required an extraordinary investigation. This case lasted more than ten years, needed enquiries in many different countries and finally a lengthy extradition process.

“The sheer scale of the investigation was also remarkable. There were extensive media appeals, and thousands of homes and businesses were contacted, in person or through leaflets. Thousands of men volunteered to assist by voluntarily giving DNA. I would like to personally thank all those who helped, it was through those extensive efforts that Vyas was finally identified and brought to justice.

“Vyas’s crimes were wicked and relentless and I am thankful that such violent predators are rare. To anyone who is the victim of sexual assault or violent crime, this case shows the determination of the Met to bring those responsible to justice. If you are a victim of sexual crime, please tell us – you will be supported.”

For more on this story, and the latest on our other local and national news, listen to Time 107.5FM

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