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Mariana Popa murder: Eight months on, Ilford Lane businesses say prostitutes still work on the road

Mariana Popa was pregnant when she was stabbed to death in Ilford Lane Mariana Popa was pregnant when she was stabbed to death in Ilford Lane

Thursday, June 5, 2014
7:00 AM

Prostitution is still a problem in Ilford Lane despite the “cold-blooded and senseless” murder of sex worker Mariana Popa last year, according to nearby businesses.

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Farooq Shah, 21, of Station Road, Forest Gate, will be sentenced on June 27 at Woolwich Crown Court after he was found guilty of murdering Miss Popa in the street this week.

Filly Maravala, a former councillor, has campaigned against prostitution on the road for four years.

“The murder of Mariana Popa has not deterred prostitution - there was a school of thought that the girls of the night would stop frequenting Ilford Lane after the murder.

“Over the last week I must have seen seven or eight [prostitutes] as early as 10pm.”

In 2011, Mr Maravala, of Mortlake Road, collected more than 2,500 signatures for a petition to help try to fight the issue.

Jack Wheeler, 85, a resident of 50 years, works in newsagent in Ilford Lane.

He said: “It is still an area where there is violence going on.

“I do not know what the authorities have to do to change it. I do not see why the prostitutes have to work here. ”

Miss Popa, 24, collapsed in the Chicken & Pizza 4U takeaway following the attack by Shah.

The Romanian national worked as a sex worker to earn a living for her family.

On the night she died, she left behind a six-year-old daughter and a boyfriend who thought she worked at a restaurant.

Amarjeet Singh, 23, of Green Lane, Seven Kings, is a manager at an estate agents, also on Ilford Lane.

“There are a lot of prostitutes here, but it has got better because of the police.

“I think [the police presence] is a result of Mariana Popa’s murder.

“A woman should not have to be murdered for them to do something about it.”

But Mr Singh also added: “At the end of the day she should not have been there working as a prostitute.

“It should be a warning for the other prostitutes but they are still there.”

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