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

The vicious attack in Ilford Lane caught on CCTV The vicious attack in Ilford Lane caught on CCTV

Friday, June 27, 2014
5:42 PM

The family of murdered Mariana Popa have had to wait eight months for her killer to be brought to justice. Today Farooq Shah, 21, of Station Road, Forest Gate, was jailed for a minimum of 29 years.

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Here’s a timeline of the 24-year-old’s murder.

9pm, October 28

• Mariana Popa, 24, heads out, leaving behind a six-year-old daughter and a boyfriend who think she’s working at a restaurant some 20 or 30 miles away. In actual fact, this is the fourth time she has gone out to work as a prostitute in an attempt to support her family.

9pm onwards

• Police stop Mariana three times, and on one occasion issue her with a caution for soliciting.

• Her killer, Farooq Shah, robs a partially-sighted man in Upton Park at knife-point, before cycling towards Ilford Lane.

Around midnight

• CCTV footage captures Mariana walking alongside Farooq Shah. Suddenly he pulls a knife out from his back pocket and stabs her twice in the chest.

• Shah cycles off towards Loxford Lane as Mariana staggers into Chicken and Pizza 4U in Ilford Lane, where she collapses.

• She dies later during surgery at the Royal London Hospital, Whitechapel. A post-mortem finds she died of shock, haemorrhage and stab wounds.

November 8

• Police find a bike matching that in CCTV footage outside a flat in St Francis Way. Shah is found inside and immediately arrested. At the flat, police also find a bag belonging to Shah matching the one seen in the footage. June 2

• Shah is found guilty at Woolwich Crown Court.

In a statement after the verdict, Scotland Yard’s investigating officer Det Insp Darren Richards highlights Shah’s brazen attitude, saying he killed Mariana “because she was there, because he thought he could get away with it”.

June 3

• Ex-Loxford councillor Filly Maravala, a campaigner for action to end prostitution in Ilford Lane, says “the murder of Mariana Popa has not deterred prostitution” in the area.

June 27

• Shah is jailed for a minimum of 29 years.

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