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 Ilford News Stories

Christopher Lombard

On a cold dark December night 20 years ago, doorman Christopher Lombard arrived at work never to return home.

Yesterday, 17:37
Lauren Squire Georgina Quarmby Isabel Squire- Yates Carole Squire Ben Yates

It’s your last chance to sign up to Sunday’s Santathon in aid of Saint Francis Hospice.

Yesterday, 16:09
Bella Field has just won another award for her fundraising.

A 11-year-old girl, who raised £110,000 for a children’s hospice after her sister died of a brain tumour, has won a national award.

Yesterday, 14:00
Kate Kennedy, David Stephens, Nicholas Smith, Cllr Elaine Norman, Chris Gannaway, Sadiq Khan, Cllr Jas Athwal, Cllr Dev Sharma and Cllr Debbie Kaur-Thiara (credit: Ron Jeffries)

Campaigners are celebrating after a long-fought battle for improved transport access for disabled and elderly commuters at Newbury Park station has been won.

Newsletter Sign Up

Most read news

HOT JOBS

Show Job Lists

Competitions

£3,000 goes a long way at Boots

Cosmetics, toiletries, vitamins and more. Boots is the number one choice when it comes to purchasing daily essentials.

Kit yourself out and go Apple mad!

If you’re obsessed with Apple or just love a good gadget, this is a prize that will blow you away! An incredible £3,333 to spend on Apple goodies! How would you like to be the proud new owner of the Apple Watch?

Digital Edition

cover

Enjoy the
Ilford Recorder
e-edition today

Subscribe

Education and Training

cover

Read the
Education and Training
e-edition today

Read Now