London

Kirill Belorusov jailed for murdering film producer ex

Laureline Garcia-Bertaux Image copyright Met Police
Image caption Laureline Garcia-Bertaux was found buried in a shallow grave in her garden

A "cruel and heartless fraud" who strangled his ex-girlfriend and buried her in a flower bed has been jailed.

French film producer Laureline Garcia-Bertaux, 34, was discovered naked and wrapped in bin bags in a shallow grave at her London home in March.

Kirill Belorusov, 32, fled to his native Estonia and sent fake text messages to her friends and family to cover his tracks.

At the Old Bailey he was jailed for a minimum of 24 years for murder.

Image copyright Met Police
Image caption Kirill Belorusov was extradited from Estonia to face trial

His trial heard Belorusov owed his ex-girlfriend thousands of pounds and told a series of lies to avoid paying her back.

He killed her as he was about be exposed as a "complete fraud" after promising to help Ms Garcia-Bertaux move into a fictitious new home.

Judge Nicholas Hilliard QC told Belorusov: "It was, I'm afraid, all about you. I am satisfied you killed her in an effort to stop being exposed as an imposter and fraud.

"You are a very calculating person by nature."

Judge Hilliard said Ms Garcia-Bertaux must have discovered the "cruel deception" and was killed to stop anyone else finding out.

The judge described Ms Garcia-Bertaux as a "talented, loyal, caring and vivacious" woman who was much loved by her family and friends.

Image copyright Met Police/PA Media
Image caption The jury saw footage of Belorusov buying an axe and rubble sacks in Homebase

The court heard he met Ms Garcia-Bertaux in 2009, but the couple split up in 2017.

She complained he was a "slob" who would "needle her about her weight".

After killing Ms Garcia-Bertaux, Belorusov was captured on CCTV at a Homebase store where he bought items including an axe and rubble sacks.

After fleeing to Estonia he sent text messages from her phone to her friends which said she was planning a "boob job" or "lypo" and expressing her delight at her new fictitious home.

She was reported missing by concerned friends after she failed to turn up for work at PR firm Golin.

After sentencing, her mother Federique Bertaux said in a statement: "There is not a moment during the day I don't think of my Laureline.

"The death of one's own child goes against nature."

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