Case: Body in a suitcase: Alexandra Kovacs
Alexandra Kovacs
Laszlo Gyarmati
Status: Solved
Categories: Uncategorised
Case synopsis:

The body of Alexandra Kovacs, 25, was found in a suitcase in a wooded area in Mill Hill, northwest London.

Police officers recovered her remains during a search of Dollis Valley Greenwalk off Thornfield Avenue at around 5pm on 21 July 2013.

The postmortem could not establish a cause of death due to decomposition but there was evidence of compression of the neck.

Miss Kovacs was a Hungarian national who came to the UK in 2011 and lived in a shared house in Lee Road, Mill Hill. At the time of her death she was working for a bespoke t-shirt business.

On 23 July police arrested a 29 year-old man on suspicion of murder. The next day detectives charged Laszlo Gyarmati, a Hungarian national, aged 29 [07/03/84] of Station Road, Finchley, north London, with murder.

He went on trial at the Old Bailey on 13 January 2014. The prosecution claimed that Gyarmati killed Miss Kovacs after a sexual encounter in her bedroom in Mill Hill in the early hours of 18 July 2013.

The pair arranged to meet up in Dollis Road before going to a chicken takeaway. They returned to Lee Road at around 11pm.

Housemates heard her scream for help at around 3am and she was not seen alive again.

At around 7.30am Gyarmati was captured on CCTV wheeling the suitcase towards the Dollis Valley Green Walk. He also dumped a bag containing her clothing and belongings on a construction site.

Laszlo Gyarmati cctv suitcase

Police were informed that a body had been found in the area but an initial search did not locate the suitcase. Miss Kovacs was reported missing by a friend on 20 July and the following day officers searched her room and discovered blood spattered on the headboard and wall.

Officers recovered the body with the help of a sniffer dog.

DNA matching Gyarmati was later found on Miss Kovacs' t-shirt.

Gyarmati, who came to the UK in April 2012 and worked as a shelf-stacker, admitted manslaughter but denied murder. He claimed that he grabbed her throat and put a pillow over her face to 'shut her up' during an argument but did not intend to cause serious injury. 'She really wound me up,' he told jurors.

On 24 January 2014 the jury convicted Gyarmati of murder. He was sentenced to life imprisonment with a minimum of 17 years before parole.

Laszlo GyarmatiAlexandra Kovacs

Killer Laszlo Gyarmati and victim Alexandra Kovacs

The judge told Gyarmati: 'I am satisfied that what you did that night was not premeditated. It may be that we shall never know the real motive for what you did. But I do not accept your evidence that you were just trying to keep Miss Kovacs quiet.

'You not only snuffed out Alexandra Kovacs’s life but in doing so you deprived her friends and family of a lively, active young lady.'

Detective Chief Inspector Nicola Wall, Homicide and Major Crime Command, said: 'Alexandra was a young woman starting out in life when she was killed by Laszlo Gyarmati. She was working very hard sending money back to Hungary to her mum and younger brother.

'Alexandra knew Gyarmati and was happy to be in his company that evening. She obviously had no thoughts that he would hurt her. Sadly he betrayed that trust in the ultimate way.

'After he killed her Gyarmati took steps to cover his crime by callously putting her body in to a suitcase and secreting it in local woodland.'

Coverage of Alexandra Kovacs murder trial

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