Exeter murderer Kostadin Kostov dragged body in suitcase

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A jealous killer who was caught on CCTV dragging his ex's body round a city in a suitcase has been jailed for murder.

Cleaner Kostadin Kostov killed 38-year-old Gergana Prodanova in Exeter last August, the city's crown court was told.

He became angry with Ms Prodanova after she started a relationship with fellow Bulgarian national Tihomir Todorov.

Kostov, 43, of Mount Pleasant Road, Exeter, was given a life sentence with a minimum term of 19 years.

More on the guilty verdict, and other Devon and Cornwall news

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Image caption Gergana Prodanova had started a new relationship with fellow Bulgarian Tihomir Todorov

He dragged the suitcase containing Ms Prodanova's corpse for about a mile along several main streets under cover of darkness, the court heard.

CCTV captured at about 5:00 BST on 7 August - three days after the killing - showed a figure struggling to haul the luggage and occasionally stopping to catch his breath.

'Cruel, dark character'

Disguised in a baseball cap, Kostov dumped Ms Prodanova's naked body next to a railway.

It was found almost two weeks later when a worker noticed a foul smell coming from an embankment, jurors were told.

Image copyright Devon and Cornwall Police
Image caption Kostadin Kostov dumped his ex-partner's body next to a railway

Kostov, described as "jealous and controlling" by prosecutor Simon Laws QC, had searched the internet to find out how long it would take for the body to decompose.

Ms Prodanova's remains were so badly decomposed her cause of death could not be established.

While sentencing, judge Sir John Royce told Kostov: "Only you can tell us how she died and you have chosen not to. There has been no hint of remorse.

"The way you have conducted this case merely serves to underline the cruel, dark element of your character."

After sentencing, Det Insp Greg Dawe said: "He was a violent and jealous man and couldn't bear to see Gergana happy with someone else.

"The motive was plain and simple - old fashioned jealousy."

The court heard the couple had three children together, but Ms Prodonova had left them in Bulgaria when moving to Britain to get away from Kostov.

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