A man from Dartford who strangled and buried his partner while on holiday in Peru has been found guilty of her murder.
Jorge Garay killed 37-year-old Karla Godoy before he wrapped her body in a tarpaulin and dumped her in a makeshift grave inside land owned by his family in Lima, Peru.
On Monday 17 July 2023, Garay, 46, of Hythe Street, Dartford, was found guilty of murder.
It took the jury at Maidstone Crown Court just seven hours to reach their verdict.
The court heard how the couple had travelled to Peru via Spain, having left the UK on Thursday 15 September 2022.
Karla’s family, who reside in Honduras and Spain, last heard from her on Thursday 23 September when she confirmed her plans to travel to Spain the following day, however, the mum-of-one did not arrive.
Her family became concerned, and after trying to reach Karla they contacted the police in both Spain and Peru. The authorities commenced investigations to try and find Karla and a report was made to Kent Police.
On Tuesday 4 October Garay returned to the UK alone. He told his landlord that Karla had stayed in Spain when he went to Peru and also claimed he had been robbed of his money and ID while away.
He then went on to empty the flat they rented in Dartford and handed his keys back before he left the area.
Friends and family of Karla continued to search for her and on 12 October Garay was reported to have made a confession via a telephone conversation in which he confessed to murdering Karla and claimed they had argued and he had acted in self-defence.
On the same day Karla’s body was located by Peruvian authorities in the garden as described. She had been strangled and had to be identified through fingerprints.
On Friday 14 October Garay was arrested in London with assistance from the Metropolitan Police Service.
Two days later the Crown Prosecution Service gave authorisation for detectives to charge Garay with murder.
Senior Investigating Officer, Detective Inspector Lee Neiles, of the Kent and Essex Serious Crime Directorate, said: "Karla Godoy’s life was violently cut short by a man she trusted during what was supposed to be a holiday for the couple. Garay’s actions not only ended her life but he tried to cover up his crimes by callously disposing of her body and hiding it in a makeshift grave.
"Karla leaves behind a young daughter who now faces growing up without her Mum and leaves a family without their daughter, sister and aunt.
"Despite Garay’s initial confession to Karla’s family, he pleaded not guilty and instead chose to put her family through the ordeal of a trial, where details were heard that no family should have to listen to.
"This was a complex case which involved working with international police forces, agencies and prosecuting authorities and I’m pleased we have been able to secure this conviction and hope it offers some justice for Karla and her family."
Garay is due to be sentenced at Maidstone Crown Court on Friday 28 July.
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