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Carole Waugh murder: The conman who became a killer

Image caption Carole Waugh's body was found in a lock-up garage months after she was reported missing

Carole Waugh made the innocent mistake of befriending a serial conman - but she paid for it with her life.

Within months of meeting serial fraudster Rakesh Bhayani, who has been jailed for a minimum of 27 years, he had murdered her and concealed her body.

Ms Waugh was worth about £1m after forging a successful career in the oil industry - but despite that, she was lonely.

And it was this loneliness that led her to meet 41-year-old Bhayani, a man who already had 45 convictions for fraud.

They met after she posted an advert online for escort work.

Their relationship soon turned intimate, but it was her money the defendant was after.

At his Old Bailey trial, Bhayani, from Wembley, north London, accepted he was a conman, but repeatedly denied being a killer, stressing that none of his previous convictions were for violence.

Image caption Rakesh Bhayani had 45 previous convictions for fraud

But the jury thought otherwise and found him guilty of stabbing Ms Waugh in the neck in her own bed at her home in Marylebone, central London, in April last year.

Three-and-a-half months later her body was found in a rented garage in New Malden, south London.

Ms Waugh, originally from Haswell in County Durham, lived alone in a £600,000 flat which she owned.

She did not have a regular job, but had previously worked as an accounts clerk in the oil industry in Libya.

Before the sentencing, a statement from Ms Waugh's family was read out in which she was described as "loving, supportive and great fun".

The statement, signed by her brother Christopher Waugh, spoke of the "disbelief, dismay, darkness" as the family had to "face our worst fears" in the wake of the murder.

The concern Ms Waugh had for money changed when she met Bhayani, who soon gained her trust and persuaded her to lend him £40,000.

During his trial, he repeatedly denied murdering her, instead claiming he was working on a fraud scam with Ms Waugh, and his co-defendant, Nicholas Kutner, 48.

Nicholas Kutner, 48, from Kentish Town, north London, who had been cleared of murder but found guilty of perverting the course of justice by concealing Ms Waugh's death, was jailed for a total of 13 years. He had earlier admitted conspiracy to defraud her.

Bhayani told the court they had planned for Ms Waugh to go away while they stole money using her identity, before she claimed the money back from her bank's insurance when she returned a few months later.

Instead, Bhayani killed her and following her death, both himself and Kutner persuaded a number of women to impersonate Ms Waugh to use her credit cards.

'Prison confession'

During the trial a witness, who was known as "Mr X", told the court Bhayani had confessed to stabbing Ms Waugh while they were both in Wandsworth Prison, south-west London, in September 2012.

Mr X said Bhayani made stabbing motions as he admitted he had knifed her in the neck.

However when he appeared in the dock, the defendant repeatedly claimed he did not know who killed her.

He also told the court he did not contact the police about Ms Waugh's death as he thought he would be linked to her murder.

"To me, the police would have come, arrested me and they would not have looked past me at that point," he said

"So I was really scared at the situation. I didn't want to go into Carole Waugh's flat and move her body. It's a horrible, horrible, horrible thing to do."

'Confidence trickster'

Kutner did not give evidence in the trial, instead his defence team questioned Bhayani about Ms Waugh's murder and how he concealed her death.

Like Bhayani, Kutner had a history of tricking and defrauding people and he had 97 offences to his name.

Image caption Nicholas Kutner was convicted of perverting the course of justice

Det Ch Insp Justin Davies said: "Bhayani is a confidence trickster who murdered [Ms Waugh] 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."

He described the murder as a "senseless killing" by people the victim thought she could trust.

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

"Both men did not waste any time in spending her money, using it to buy gold, use prostitutes and live a champagne lifestyle.

"Ms Waugh was a wealthy woman; her years of hard work both in the UK and abroad were squandered in a matter of three months."

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