Man stole money from woman he murdered to pay big loan shark debts

Serafima Meshaka
Serafima Meshaka Credit: Met Police

A man who stole money from a woman he murdered to help pay off thousands of pounds in loan shark debts has been jailed for at least 30 years.

Armen Aristakesyan, 43, became friends with Serafima Meshaka to gain her trust before attacking the 58-year-old in her Ealing home.

Serafima was found by police lying face down in the bathroom after being hit over the head.

The Old Bailey heard how she kept cash at home to pay for building work while Aristakesyan grew increasingly desperate to pay off huge debts.

Armen Aristakesyan Credit: Met Police

"Having known him for around three years she had no reason to suspect that she was in danger," said Detective Superintendent Helen Rance.

"Serafima was no threat at all to Aristakesyan but he betrayed her confidence and attacked her in her own home, her safe space, in the most cowardly way.

"Her family remain devastated and are still coming to terms with her untimely loss," she added.

Aristakesyan stacked up enormous debts and owed around £120,000 to illegal loan sharks.

CCTV showed Aristakesyan arriving at Haven Green Court in West London carrying a small bag.

He left carrying a larger bag in which it was suspected he carried the stolen cash and murder weapon.

Aristakesyan contacted his brother and was heard during one call saying: "Come, there is much."

Charges against his brother of assisting an offender were dropped by the Crown Prosecution Service.

In a statement read to the Old Bailey Serafima's husband said: "Nothing will bring my wife back, no sentence this man can get for this horrific crime would ever be enough.

"She was a wonderful person whom will forever be greatly missed."