Case: The Missing Businesswoman: Carole Waugh
Carole Waugh
Rakesh Bhayani
Status: Solved
Categories: Robbery
Case synopsis:

Millionaire businesswoman Carole Waugh, 49, was found dead on August 2, 2012.

She had last been seen alive on April 16, 2012, and was reporting missing by her brother on 7 May.

It later emerged that thousands of pounds had been stolen from her bank account and attempts had been made to sell her £600,000 home at 6 Tressard Court, Harrowby Street, Maida Vale, west London.

The investigation was taken over by the Homicide and Serious Crime Command on 19 July and on August 1 the Metropolitan Police announced it was a murder inquiry.

The following day at 7pm the body of Carole Waugh was found in a VW Golf at a garage in Lime Court, New Malden, south London. She had suffered a single stab wound to the neck.

Police issued photos of her Cartier jewellery in an attempt to trace them - a ring, a white gold bracelet; a yellow gold bracelet and a yellow gold necklace in the same style.

Carole Waugh and brother

Carole Waugh and her brother Chris

On August 15, two men were charged with murder: Rakesh Bhayani, 40 [5/3/72] unemployed of Chamberlayne Avenue, Wembley and Nicholas David Kutner, 47 [5/2/65] of no fixed address.

They went on trial at the Old Bailey on October 11. The prosecution claimed that Bhayani and Kutner were professional conmen and gambling addicts who murdered Ms Waugh so they could plunder her assets.

Ms Waugh, a former accounts clerk for an oil firm in Libya, had 'plenty of money' and worked as an escort, the court heard.

It is thought she met Bhayani through one of the websites she used to find male company and was persuaded to lend him £40,000.

Jurors heard she was probably killed on the night of 16/17 April. Over the following weeks and months Bhayani and Kutner withdrew cash from her account, took out a £200,000 bridging loan against her flat, applied for a £400,000 mortgate and attempted to rent it out to two tenants at the same time.

CCTV footage of Bhayani and Kutner withdrawing cash at ATMs

The proceeds of the fraud were used to buy gold, book rooms at exclusive hotels, entertain women and gamble at casinos.

Carole's body was at first kept in the boot of a car in an underground car park before being moved to the lock-up garage on 21 May.

Bhayani and Kutner pleaded guilty to conspiracy to defraud Ms Waugh but denied murder. Bhayani claimed that he had found her body under the bed and attempted to implicated Kutner in the killing. Kutner did not make any comment in police interview and did not give evidence at the trial.

On 27 November Bhayani was convicted of murder. Kutner was cleared of murder but convicted of perverting the course of justice by covering up the killing.

The following day Bhayani was jailed for life with a minimum of 27 years before parole. Kutner was jailed for 13 years.

Mr Justice Wilkie told Bhayani: 'You had, ruthlessly and without compunction, targeted her, a woman who, though self made, successful and independently wealthy, was a risk taker and manifestly vulnerable to the machinations of professional con men such as you and your co-fraudster Kutner.

"Money was the occasion of the argument out of which you killed her and then, without a second thought, you and Kutner, calmly and comprehensively set about: stealing her identity; using it to defraud banks and other institutions, within three months, of over £250,000 worth of assets; set in train processes which would have realised much greater rewards for you in the near future, and in the course of that emptied an account specifically set up for the benefit of her niece and tried, as far as you could, to denude her estate at the expense of her family.

"You took steps to ensure that her body would not be found for a sufficient time not only to give you the best chance of evading detection for having killed her, but also, and additionally, to enable you and Kutner to embark upon and complete, if you could, the asset stripping of her persona.

"You dumped her body in a bag in the boot of an old car, you then left it in various car parks and latterly left her body to rot in a bag, in a car, in a lock-up garage. These actions, dismissive and disrespectful of the remains of a woman who regarded you as a friend demonstrated your utter greed, callousness and total lack of any regard or respect for your victim.

"Your actions in persisting with your fraud after killing her were breathtakingly wicked and none the less so because you were almost bound, eventually, to be identified as the perpetrator. Your compulsion to feed your addictions to risk taking and gambling and your amorality and selfishness overwhelmed any notion of decency or restraint."

Carole Waugh

Killer Rakesh Bhayani and victim Carole Waugh

Detective Chief Inspector Justin Davies of the Homicide and Major Crime Command (HMCC) said: “Carole Waugh’s murder was the senseless killing of a woman who put her trust in people she thought were her friends.

"Bhayani clearly had no intention of friendship with Carole and his motivation was clearly her money.

"Bhayani is a confidence trickster who murdered her with the sole intention of stripping her assets and the belongings she had worked hard for.

"Both men are compulsive liars who have deceived and defrauded their own families, friends and acquaintances throughout their entire adult lives. They went to extreme lengths to defraud Carole.

"Her body was placed in a boot of a car and left for months in car parks and a lock-up garage. Both men did not waste any time in spending her money, using it to buy gold, use prostitutes and live a champagne lifestyle. While Carole’s body lay undiscovered, they showed no regard for her family who they knew were desperately seeking to trace her.

"Ms Waugh was a wealthy woman; her years of hard work both in the UK and abroad were squandered in matter of three months. They took almost everything she worked for with exception of two bracelets which remained on her body. These were difficult to prise off her wrists and I have no doubt if able to, they would have taken these items too.”

In a statement after the sentence, Chris Waugh, said: "Everybody, without exception, has a ‘Jacob Marley’ chain.

"Some chains are long and heavy, some are light and short, but we all have them and we all live with them.

"Shortly after Easter 2012 our Jacob Marley chain started to get longer and get heavier. Extra links dropped seamlessly onto our chain, these links contained disbelief, dismay, darkness and eventually death.

"The disbelief centred around why had Carole disappeared? Why would the authorities not take her disappearance seriously?

"Dismay crept slowly but surely into our lives as we realised with every passing day that something was seriously wrong.

"In July 2012, a dark and disturbing series of events unfolded before our eyes - we had to face our worst fears, was Carole alive? Would we ever find her? Would we ever find out what had happened to her? Would we find the people responsible? Our darkest hour was still before us.

"On 2 August 2012, Carole was found, not in the way we would have wished, but neverless she was found and we were able to say goodbye.

"Five days after Carole’s funeral, mum collapsed and was taken to hospital. On 31 August 2013 mum sadly died, broken hearted and unable to understand why her only daughter had died in such sad and tragic circumstances.

"Throughout this journey there were times when the weight of the chain was too much to bear, this is when you appreciate the help of your family, your friends, your colleagues, your neighbours and the many good Samaritans that share your work load. They pick you up, they lift you up and you find the strength to carry on.

"What do we think of when we think of Carole? That’s easy... She was loving, supportive and great fun. Her home visits were memorable. She always had great stories to tell. She turned these stories into adventures. For mum, who rarely ventured out of the county of Durham these stories were an insight not only into Carole’s life, but into the world as a whole. London, Libya, Australia, Italy, Dubai (to name but a few) were all brought to life by Carole.

"We all looked forward to Carole’s visits, especially mum. They would plan shopping trips - nothing special but real quality time between a mother and a daughter. Happy days indeed.

"We don’t dwell too much on the length and weight of her Jacob Marley chain. She continues to be missed."

Photos released by the police investigating the case can be found on the murdermap flickr page

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