Dartford man who strangled wife and buried her body while on holiday in Peru is jailed for life

Jorge Garay must serve a minimum of 17 years before being considered for parole. Credit: Kent Police

A man from Dartford in Kent who strangled his parter while on holiday in Peru, and then buried her body has been jailed for life.

Jorge Garay murdered 37-year-old Karla Godoy before he wrapped her body in a tarpaulin sheet and dumped her in a makeshift grave on land owned by his family in Lima.

Garay, 46, of Hythe Street, Dartford, has been told he must serve a minimum of 17 years before being considered for parole.

In a landmark case Kent Police was able to secure the charge against Garay after officers utilised legislation under Section 72 of the Domestic Abuse Act 2021 for the first time.

The legislation provides police with powers to prosecute a person who lives in the UK but has committed a violent offence in another country.

During the trial the jury heard how the couple had travelled to Peru via Spain, having left the UK on Thursday 15 September 2022.

Karla Godoy's family contacted the police in both Spain and Peru after being unable to reach her. Credit: Kent Police

Karla’s family, who reside in Honduras and Spain, last heard from her on Thursday 23 September where 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 launched an investigation to try and find Karla and a report was made to Kent Police.

On Tuesday 4 October Garay returned to the UK alone, telling 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.

Jorge Garay killed Karla Godoy before burying her in a makeshift grave on land owned by his family in Lima, Peru. Credit: Kent Police

Friends and family of Karla continued to search for her and on 12 October Garay was reported to have made a confession to killing Karla and claimed they had argued and he had acted in self-defence.

On the same day Karla’s body was discovered 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.

  • Libby Clark, Crown Prosecution Service

Senior Investigating Officer, Detective Inspector, Lee Neiles, of the Kent and Essex Serious Crime Directorate said: "Today’s sentencing will not bring back Karla, but I hope it provides her family with some form of closure and justice.

"Karla trusted Garay but he committed the ultimate betrayal and took away her life, leaving her daughter without a mum and her family without their daughter, sister and aunt.

"This was a complex investigation which included working with international police forces, agencies and prosecuting authorities.

"Kent Police led the investigation, and we were able to secure the charge of murder using specific powers under the Domestic Abuse Act 2021, which we believe is the first time it has been used in the country as part of a murder case.

"Karla’s family has been left mourning her needless loss and I can only hope that now the case has concluded that her family and friends can find some closure."

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