Beds, Herts & Bucks

'Callous' killer who dumped wife's body in suitcase jailed

Luz Margory Isaza Villegas Image copyright South Beds News Agency
Image caption Luz Margory Isaza Villegas's body was found on a common

A jealous husband who strangled his wife before shoving her body into a suitcase and setting it on fire has been jailed for life.

Alberto Rodrigo Giraldo-Tascon was branded "callous and cold-hearted" as he was sentenced to at least 19 years.

The Colombian former policeman took the couple's two-month-old foster baby with him when he dumped Luz Margory Isaza Villegas's body.

The 56-year-old told his three children their mum had left him.

Giraldo-Tascon killed his wife, known as Margory, at the family home in Ritcroft Street, Hemel Hempstead on 13 January.

Image copyright Herts Police
Image caption Alberto Rodrigo Giraldo-Tascon tod his children their mother had left.

Four days later police found the suitcase containing her charred remains in a shallow grave in Northchurch Common, near Berkhamsted, Hertfordshire.

Giraldo-Tascon was found guilty of murder after a trial at St Albans Crown Court. He had admitted preventing the lawful and decent burial of his wife.

During the trial the court heard the family fled Colombia for the UK in 1999 but the couple separated in January.

Giraldo-Tascon became "obsessive" about his wife and was worried she was cheating on him, the court heard.

One of the couple's children said her father confessed to killing her mother when he collected her from Luton Airport on the day she disappeared.

Image copyright South Beds News Agency
Image caption Police found the body of Luz Margory Isaza Villegas on Northchurch Common near Berkhamsted

Police discovered multiple blunt force trauma injuries to Ms Villegas's face and neck and there was bruising around her neck which suggested strangulation.

Giraldo-Tascon denied murder, claiming his wife had lunged at him with a knife before collapsing.

Sentencing, Judge Michael Kay QC said: "Your steps were callous cold-hearted and evil. It involved considerable thought on your part."

Image copyright South Beds News Agency
Image caption Police sealed off the house in Ritcroft Street and carried out searches of the home and garden

Following the verdict the couple's son Julian said: "She was the best Colombian mum who made the best Colombian food.

"She was always getting into people's hearts with love kindness and good humour.

"Always genuine and real. Her laughter was contagious. She made friends everywhere she went. The world has lost a loving soul."

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