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Michelle Samaraweera: Man accused of Hainault woman’s murder attacked vulnerable women at night, court told

PUBLISHED: 19:55 07 July 2020 | UPDATED: 19:55 07 July 2020

Michelle Samaraweera's body was found in a playground in 2009. Picture: Met Police

Michelle Samaraweera's body was found in a playground in 2009. Picture: Met Police

Archant

The man accused of murdering Hainault woman Michelle Samaraweera is a serial rapist who targeted women on their own and under cover of darkness, a court was told today, Tuesday, July 7.

Aman Vyas turned a small area near his home in Walthamstow, into his “hunting ground” for a “series of violent rapes” between March and May 2009, prosecutor Tom Little QC said.

Vyas is charged with the murder 35-year-old Ms Samaraweera in May 2009. She lived in Kielder Close.

He is also charged with six counts of rape, of causing grievous bodily harm with intent and of having an article with a blade or point in a public place.

Mr Little told the jury that Vyas has admitted one of the rapes but denies the other attacks, even “in the teeth of compelling evidence of his guilt”.

The barrister told Croydon Crown Court: “The prosecution say the defendant would go out prowling in the early hours of the morning, looking for lone women on whom he could prey.”

“Three of his victims were attacked and raped out in the open, while one was raped after the defendant had followed her back to her flat.”

The jury was told that Vyas, 35, had evaded justice for more than a decade as he left Britain just weeks after the last attack.

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He was extradited from India in October 2019.

The prosecutor dubbed him “the E17 night stalker” and said he followed Ms Samaraweera after she stopped at a shop just after 1am on the day she was killed.

She was attacked, raped and murdered at a children’s playground, according to Mr Little.

He told the court: “Not only had the defendant attacked her but he had strangled her.”

He added that Vyas “accepts” having had sex with Ms Samaraweera but claims it was consensual and that she “died accidentally during their sexual activity”.

He body was found by a dog walker just after 5.15am.

Vyas has pleaded guilty to raping his first victim but claimed it was a “largely consensual encounter,” the jury heard.

Mr Little said: “The reality, we say, is very different.”

Another victim, who earlier had been grabbed by her arms as she walked to a shop, was “brutally” attacked in a churchyard in April 2009, Mr Little told the court.

The hearing was adjourned until 10am on Wednesday.


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