London

Nijole Siskeviciene murder: James Citro jailed for life

James Citro
Image caption James Citro was arrested 12 years after the murder

A convicted rapist who was found guilty of strangling his neighbour in north-west London has been jailed for life.

James Citro murdered Nijole Siskeviciene, 44, in Lancelot Road, Wembley, in October 1998.

Citro, 54, of Abbots Close, Weston-super-Mare, was previously convicted of two rapes involving attempted strangulation, in Ireland 33 years ago.

Sentencing him at the Old Bailey to a minimum of 20 years, Judge David Paget called Citro a "dangerous man".

During the trial, Philip Bennetts QC, prosecuting, said Miss Siskeviciene was strangled and her body was left outside garages at the back of her home in Lancelot Road.

Citro - who changed his surname from Kennedy had been living nearby on the same road - told police officers at the time that he did not know her.

However in court, Citro admitted two offences of perverting the course of justice by writing two anonymous letters to police shortly after the murder.

One letter said "two dark men" were seen with the body while another claimed to be from an elderly person saying a "girl was carried out from a house by two black men".

The court heard detectives regarded the letters as "credible and genuine" evidence so appeals were made for the "vital witnesses" to come forwarded.

Citro was arrested in connection with the murder, in October 1998, after his DNA - which matched forensic evidence connected to the murder - was taken by police when they stopped him for drink-driving in July last year.

Miss Siskeviciene, who had two grown-up sons and worked in the hotel trade, had only just moved into the street where she died.

Image caption Nijole Siskeviciene's body was found propped up outside garages near her Wembley home

Citro, originally from Nenagh, Co Tipperary, was jailed for 10 years for two rapes in the same area of Ireland in 1978, in which the victims were held or throttled around the neck.

Judge Paget commended one of the victims, who thought she was going be killed when she was thrown into a lake, and a garda officer for giving evidence in the murder trial.

Sentencing him to a minimum of 20 years, Judge Paget told Citro: "This case is the third time you have admitted to strangling your victim in a sexual context.

"By lying you have escaped justice for 13 years.

'Utmost respect'

"I have no doubt you are a very dangerous man."

Citro changed his name by deed poll in 2003 and is believed to have worked as a barman in the Hayes, Ealing, Hampstead and Essex areas, before moving to Weston-super-Mare in 2002.

Detectives believe Citro attacked other women and have appealed for any victims of assaults to come forward.

Det Supt Keith Niven told them: "I can assure you that you will be treated with the utmost respect and sensitivity and your information will be dealt with in the strictest confidence."

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