Seven Kings murder: Man jailed for life for stabbing ex-girlfriend 19 times outside her home
PUBLISHED: 17:09 20 June 2018 | UPDATED: 17:52 20 June 2018
A man has been jailed for life after stabbing his ex-girlfriend 19 times on the street outside her Seven Kings home in a "frenzied attack" fuelled by jealousy.
Jurors at the Old Bailey deliberated for only 15 minutes today, June 20, before finding Genu Armeanu, 45, guilty of murdering Elisabeta Lacatusu metres away from her home, in Norfolk Road, on January 3 at around 7pm.
CCTV footage shown to the jurors on June 18 showed Armeanu, of Coleridge Avenue, Manor Park, walking up and down Norfolk Road at around 6.40pm while repeatedly attempting to call Elisabeta.
It then appears to show Elisabeta walking into Norfolk Road, from neighbouring Cameron Road, at around 6.54pm until the man emerges from behind a silver Mercedes van, intercepts her and begins a seemingly calm conversation.
“Quite suddenly, and without any apparent warning or escalation going on between them, the defendant pulled a knife from his right-hand jacket pocket and immediately stabbed Elisabeta in the torso,” said prsecutor Jocelyn Ledward QC.
She added: “She struggled to get him off and to get away.
“But using her left arm hooked around the back of her head and neck, he held her close and stabbed her repeatedly to the chest and neck area.
“At one point she stumbled clasping her neck.
Describing Ms Lacatusu’s injuries, Ms Ledward said: “A post-mortem examination revealed she had at least 19 incised wounds including a large gaping wound to her neck caused by likely more than one cutting action across her neck.
In an police interview the following day, Armeanu confessed to killing Elisabeta.
He said: “I know what I did.
“I did it for love.
“I found out she had been with somebody else.
“That is why I killed her.”
Blood stains on Armeanu’s shoes matched the Elisabeta’s DNA profile.
But Armeanu pleaded not guilty to murder when he appeared at the Old Bailey on May 2, which meant a jury trial had to take place on June 18.
During the trial Armeanu decided not to give any evidence in his own defence.
“Why did he not just plead guilty?” Judge Sarah Munro asked incredulously during the sentencing.
Defence barrister Stephen Moses said: “He wanted a jury to find him guilty rather than utter the words himself.
“There was some considerable time spent going through the matters with the defendant.”
Sitting in the dock, wearing a grey jumper, Armeanu looked stoically at the ground on hearing the guilty verdict.
Ms Ledward then proceeded to read aloud a victim statement from Elisabeta’s eldest daughter, Madalina Lacatusu.
“She supported us all the time until the last moments of her life,” Madalina said.
“Her death shattered our daily peace and now we just try to survive.
“We have to start anew without our mother, without the pillar of our lives.”
She spoke of how the family, who used to live with her mother, have had to move address following the incident, are seeking psychiatric help and cannot bear to go along the road again.
Elisabeta and Armeanu were believed to have been in a relationship since late summer 2017 and had known each other since childhood, as they had both grown up in the city of Vaslui in Romania.
Jurors were told Ms Lacatusu’s family were not happy to learn of her relationship with Armeanu and she agreed to end it at their request.
But Armeanu was “very persistent,” Elisabeta showing her family text messages in which he first threatened to kill himself and then kill her.
Judge Munro handed Armeanu a life sentence with a minimum term of 27 years and 199 days in prison.
“Your actions caused the needless and tragic death of a beloved mother, mother-in-law and grandmother,” she said.
“Her family will suffer her loss forever and the impact of your actions is immeasurable.”
She added: “She was their guardian angel - her youngest daughter Alina is only 17.”