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Man jailed for life for the murder of a Redbridge woman

21-Year-old Valentin Lazar was sentenced for the murder of Maria Rawlings (Pic-Met Police)

A man has been given a life sentence following the murder of a Redbridge woman. 

Valentin Lazar, of Hockley Avenue, E6 was handed the sentence at the Old Bailey on Thursday 3, February after previously pleading guilty to the murder of Maria Rawlings.

He will serve a minimum of 23-and-a-half years, reduced from 28 years due to his guilty plea, and will remain on license for the remainder of his life.  

The paid had never met before Lazar saw Maria on a bus in Ilford at around 23:00 on May 3, 2021. 

CCTV footage shows the pair talking to one another when they got off the bus at the end of it’s journey in Little Heath. 

Maria’s father said that his daughter was beautiful

It also shows Lazar leading Maria into an area of shrubbery, 30 minutes later Lazar re-appeared alone but in possession of the handbag she was carrying before getting on another bus out of the area. 

Maria’s body was discovered in the afternoon of the following day.

Officers found a number of items discarded near her body, including a cap which would later be identified as being owned by Lazar.

A post-mortem examination revealed that Maria had been killed following compression to her neck; she had also been subjected to a violent assault which resulted in multiple fractures to her ribs.

An investigation analysed CCTV footage and they were able to find a clear picture of Lazar, this was then shared with the public in a bid to identify him. 

Police released this from CCTV in a bid to identify Lazar

He was identified and arrested within a day, he then plead guilty at the Old Bailey on November 19. 

Detective Inspector Adam Callaghan, of the Met’s Specialist Crime Command, said, “Within an hour of meeting Lazar, Maria was left for dead in the bushes where she was found.
“His shockingly violent actions resulted in a vulnerable woman’s future being taken from her and a family left devastated.

“Today’s sentence brings the legal proceedings to a close and I hope that Maria’s family can find a measure of closure in knowing that the man who took her from them has been removed from society where he can no longer pose a threat to women. Our thoughts are with them today.

“Violence against women in our society is all too prevalent and the Met fully recognises the fear and concern that an incident like this brings, as police officers, our job is to ensure that all London’s communities feel safe and this is something we, as an organisation, remain deeply committed to achieving.”

Maria’s father, said: “My family and I have endured the most horrific eight months imaginable at the hands of a predator who decided to take my vulnerable, beautiful, daughter Maria’s life.

“Maria was a mother to Katie and Charlie, a grandmother to Jay, Joe and Teddy, and a sister to Tony and Terry. Our lives have been changed forever. The impact will never end. How as a family we go forward without Maria is unthinkable, we are heart broken.

“We are truly grateful to the Metropolitan Police and the legal team who have worked so tirelessly, with such speed and professionalism to bring justice for Maria. We cannot thank them enough for their constant support throughout this painful time.”

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