September 20 2014 Latest news:
Sam Blewett, Reporter
Friday, July 25, 2014
Three Romanian women in their 20s pleaded guilty today to prostitution in the Ilford Lane area where sex-worker Mariana Popa was murdered.
Redbridge Police has attempted a crackdown on the vice trade which has been particularly prevalent in that area.
Laura Simion, 21, was fined £130 after she was found persistently loitering in Khartoum Road, Ilford, while working as a prostitute last Thursday.
Simion, of no fixed abode, works in the sex trade in order to send up to £300 a month back to her two young children in Romania, she told the court, and to cover her £500 monthly rent.
District judge Gary Lucie took into account her early guilty plea but noted her persistent offending so fined her more than the “usual” amount, at Barkingside Magistrates’ Court.
Cristina Onofrei, 20, and Georgiana Stelea, 27, both of High Road, Ilford, were both fined £80 each by the judge after they were caught loitering in Ilford Lane on June 12.
“Are you going to try anything else other than prostitution?” asked the judge to both defendants who nodded their heads. “It’s dangerous and you should know that in Ilford Lane it is particularly so.”
Just a month ago a man was sentenced to life imprisonment for murdering pregnant prostitute Popa, 24, on the same road.
Farooq Shah, 21, of Station Road, Forest Gate, stabbed the mother-to-be to death in October last year.
Prostitutes were allegedly threatened by a knife-wielding man after they refused to loiter there last month, according to a resident.
A fourth woman, 21-year-old Mihaela Pantu, was caught alongside Onofrei and Stelea and lives at the same address as them. She was meant appear at the court today but failed to appear.
Judge Lucie requested that she was written to asking her to appear before him.
The three that pleaded guilty must also pay a £20 victim surcharge.
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