A caretaker who murdered a 24-year-old woman whose body was never found has been jailed for life with a minimum of 20 years.
Mark Moodie, 55, of Woolwich, south-east London, was found guilty at Woolwich Crown Court of the murder of Maureen Gitau, who disappeared on December 5 last year.
He hid her body in large communal waste bin and covered it up with rubbish, before her remains were taken to a processing plant and "inevitably" incinerated, the court heard.
Moodie was recorded on CCTV in the bin store, which was a crucial piece of evidence in the investigation.
Ms Gitau was last seen by her family as she left her aunt’s birthday party at the address where they both lived in Deptford, south-east London, and her family reported her missing five days later.
The trial heard that Ms Gitau left the party, where she was said to have been “in a good mood, playing with the children”, to meet Moodie. The court was told that he took her to a block of flats where he worked and she never left the building alive. Prosecutor Jocelyn Ledward said Moodie was seen moving a large communal waste bin around the basement of Richmond House in Deptford.
The bin was later seen outside the cleaners’ room by some of the block’s residents. He then put it back in the bin store and disposed of Ms Gitau's body. Detective Chief Inspector Kate Blackburn, of the Metropolitan Police, said a large-scale search was launched to find Ms Gitau’s body. This involved 125 trucks carrying 2,750 tonnes of waste being transported to the police search site in Essex, with 60 officers each day involved in the operation, which totalled 20,000 search hours in total.
Ms Blackburn said: “My thoughts today are with Maureen’s family, who have been cruelly prevented from putting a much loved daughter, sister, niece and cousin to rest. “I am glad we have been able to bring to justice the man responsible for her death. Mark Moodie murdered Maureen and then disposed of her body. “He has never admitted any responsibility and told lie after lie after lie. He is a contemptible individual and I am glad the jury has seen through his deceit and found him guilty of Maureen’s murder.
“My team spent many months investigating Maureen’s murder, their professionalism and dedication is just one example of the Met’s determination to bring killers to justice. “The CCTV alone was a huge part of the investigation, officers watched approximately 500 hours of CCTV to find out what had happened to Maureen. “Once we realised how Moodie had disposed of Maureen’s body, we carried out one of the largest searches of waste the Met has ever seen. “We were desperate to find her, for the sake of her family, and it will always be a regret that she was gone by the time we understood what Moodie had done with her body.”
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