London

Murder trial starts 34 years after teenage girl killed in north London

Yiannoulla Yianni Image copyright Met Police
Image caption Yiannoulla Yianni's body was found at her home in Belsize Park in August 1982

DNA linked to the rape and murder of a teenage girl in August 1982 was matched by police almost 34 years later, the Old Bailey has heard.

Yiannoulla Yianni, 17, was attacked while home alone in Hampstead, north London.

Jurors were told the DNA was extracted from a bedspread in 1999 and a match was found in December last year.

James Warnock, 56, formerly of Harrington Street, north-west London, denies rape and murder.

Opening the trial, prosecutor Crispin Aylett QC told jurors that Yiannoulla had been with her parents Elli and George Yianni at their shoe repair shop on the day of the attack, but went home early to prepare supper.

At about 14:00, a "Mediterranean looking" man in his early 20s was spotted chatting with Yiannoulla on her doorstep.

Twenty minutes later a neighbour heard a scream, jurors were told.

Yiannoulla's parents found jewellery scattered on the stairs and called out to her, before going into their own bedroom.

They discovered their daughter partially naked on their bed.

Mr Aylett said: "There they met with a sight beyond their worst imagining.

"Their beloved daughter was lying on their bed. She was obviously dead.

"Yiannoulla's breasts were exposed and she was naked from the waist down."

'Overwhelming evidence'

At the time, 22-year-old Mr Warnock was living about half a mile from Yiannoulla's house, the court heard.

Asked what he looked like in 1982, the defendant told police: "How can I put it? Er John Travolta?"

Mr Warnock told police that he had an intimate relationship with Yiannoulla - having sex on about 10 separate occasions.

But he said the first he knew of her murder was when he was arrested.

However, Mr Aylett rejected his explanation, saying he had come up with the story when "faced with overwhelming evidence that he was the murderer of Yiannoulla Yianni".

Medical evidence revealed the victim had been a virgin when she was raped and neither her sister or friends knew about the supposed affair, jurors were told.

The court heard her older sister had said they would "never in a million years" have brought a boyfriend to the family home.

The trial continues.

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