London

James Warnock jailed for life for Yiannoulla Yianni's murder

Yiannoulla Yianni Image copyright Met Police
Image caption Yiannoulla Yianni was seen talking to a man on the doorstep of her Hampstead home in 1982

A man who raped and murdered a teenage girl in 1982 has been sentenced to life in prison with a minimum of 25 years.

James Warnock, 56, strangled 17-year-old Yiannoulla Yianni in an attack described as "cruel, brutal and without mercy" at her north London home.

Recorder of London Nicholas Hilliard QC told the Old Bailey Ms Yianni had endured a "terrifying ordeal" at knifepoint.

The jury took two hours to convict Warnock, a divorced father of two.

How a killer was brought to justice after 34 years

Ms Yianni, who was known as Lucy, was from a Greek Cypriot family from Hampstead. Warnock lived just half a mile away from their house.

Image copyright Met Police
Image caption James Warnock told investigators he and his victim had had a secret affair

He managed to evade justice for 34 years, despite still living in the local community, and was only caught by a chance DNA match.

When the roofer was caught sharing indecent pictures of children on the internet last year he gave a routine DNA sample. It matched a profile retrieved from a semen stain at the 1982 crime scene. The match was one in a billion.

At the time of Ms Yianni's murder, DNA testing had not been invented and the sample that helped convict Warnock was only fully recovered from a bed sheet in 2003.

Sentencing Warnock, Judge Hilliard said: "It is impossible to understand how one human being could do such things to another.

"In the process you visited misery beyond measure on those to whom Yiannoulla was, and is, so dear and which will never leave them."

Image copyright Met Police
Image caption Ms Yianni's family were a short distance away from the family home at their shoe-repair business in Fairhazel Gardens when she was killed

Following the verdict, the Yianni family described how Lucy's murder had left them "saturated by grief" although they always believed her killer would be caught.

Her brother Rick said: "Thankfully the long arm of the law has reached out from the past to bring this evil being to justice."

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