Search

Mariana Popa murder: Killer jailed for 29 years

17:17 27 June 2014

Murdered Mariana Popa and her killer Farooq Shah (Picture: Metropolitan Police)

Murdered Mariana Popa and her killer Farooq Shah (Picture: Metropolitan Police)

Archant

A man who stabbed a pregnant Romanian prostitute to death on Ilford Lane last October has been jailed for at least 29 years.

Farooq Shah, 21, of Station Road, Forest Gate, plunged a knife into Mariana Popa’s heart as she walked along the stretch of road notorious for sex workers.

The 24-year-old had been in the UK just three weeks and was six weeks pregnant when she was attacked on October 28, a court heard.

The mother-of-one staggered into Chicken & Pizza 4U in Ilford Lane and collapsed in a pool of blood as her killer rode away on his bike.

Today at Woolwich Crown Court, Judge Christopher Kinch QC jailed Shah for life and ordered he serve at least 29 years behind bars.

The judge said: “It was an utterly terrible attack which inevitably led to her death. It was carried out with callous indifference on a defenceless woman. Mariana Popa did not stand a chance.”

CCTV footage showed Shah waiting on the forecourt of a BP garage close to where prostitutes were working on Ilford Lane late on October 28.

Miss Popa could then be seen to walk towards him and speak to him before he stabbed her twice in the chest.

Shah’s distinctive appearance exactly matched that of the killer - a Muslim man with a shaved head and a bushy beard - but he claimed he was the victim of mistaken identity.

He was found with another stolen mobile when he was arrested for the murder of Miss Popa.

Just an hour before the attack, he carried out a knife-point robbery a short distance away. Today Shah also received a six year sentence to run concurrently with the other jail term.

Det Insp Darren Richards, the investigating officer, said: “Shah has never given any reason or expressed any remorse for killing Mariana.

“He’s given no reason because there was no reason, other than he’d armed himself with a knife and was prepared to use it that night.

“First he threatened a vulnerable man for his phone, then he attacked Mariana, thinking they were alone.

“Fortunately he was caught on camera and we were able to put together his movements and bring him before the courts.

“His callous murder has deprived a young daughter of her mother and a family of their loved one. I hope today’s sentence brings some sense of justice for them.”

Read more:

Mariana Popa murder: Timeline of a sex worker’s killing

‘I’m still in shock and devastated - our plans to have a family have been dashed’

Related articles

Latest News Stories

Yesterday, 18:39
Developers want to demolish the Shannon Centre, which acts as a bar at the moment, and build a six-storey block of flats.

Plans to knock down an “historic” building and replace it with a block of flats have been approved.

Yesterday, 15:57
Eight-year-old Ayesha Ali was found dead at her home in Broomfield Road, Chadwell Heath, in August 2013

Investigators took months to unravel the bizarre web of lies and network of fictional characters created by Kiki Muddar to control Polly Chowdhury in the lead-up to Ayesha Ali’s tragic death.

Yesterday, 15:05
The

A giant “egg whisk” has been erected this afternoon.

Yesterday, 12:56
Polly Chowdhury, left, and Kiki Muddar, right, have been convicted of the manslaughter of Chowdhury's daughter, eight-year-old Ayesha Ali

Eight-year-old Ayesha Ali was subjected to sustained torture based on a bizarre web of lies unlike anything that detectives had previously come across.

Most read news

A man who was dubbed a ‘hot criminal’ has won a modelling contract.

Andrew Mitchell’s wallet is £80,000 lighter today, and his political reputation is in tatters.

His girlfriend has been charged with intending to pervert the course of justice.

Digital Edition

Image
Read the Ilford Recorder e-edition today E-edition
Family Notices 24
Our trusted business finder