'The heartbeat of our family' - Lorraine Cox's family speak out after killer found guilty of murder

  • Devon and Cornwall Police Detective Inspector Rob Back reads the statement of Lorraine Cox's family.

The family of Lorraine Cox have spoken publicly for the first time since she was killed after a man was found guilty of her murder.

The 32-year-old was murdered in her home town of Exeter in August last year. Today (Thursday 1 April) her killer Azam Mangori was convicted of murder at Exeter Crown Court.

In a statement, her loved-ones described her as the "most kind-hearted, loving, generous girl" saying she was "the heartbeat" of their family.

The family statement continues: “The last seven months have been a very difficult time. The five weeks that this trial has run its course have been both mentally and emotionally exhausting.

Lorraine Cox, aged 32, went missing after spending a bank holiday evening with friends in Exeter in August last year. Credit: Devon and Cornwall Police

“With that in mind, we have not been able to put a comment together about the case yet.

“We feel it’s right that we take a bit of time to reflect on what has been a complex case and to think about everything, and offer any thoughts that we as a family feel might need to be addressed.

“But, we would like to take this opportunity to thank the thousands, maybe tens of thousands, of people across the length and breadth of the United Kingdom and beyond for being by our side."

The statement said "could not be more grateful" for people who helped search for Lorraine and offered support to the family.

The family said a "never-ending supply of home-cooked meals" kept the family going as they thanked people for "keeping Lorraine's name on the tip of everyone's tongue and her face at the forefront of everybody’s minds" at a "heart-breaking time".

The statement continues: “Sadly, we will never be able to see Lorraine alive again, but we couldn’t have asked for more from the public and we shall be forever grateful for their continued help and support, both during and after this period.

“Nothing will ever repair the broken hearts the family suffer every day and will for the rest of our lives.

“Finally, the family would like to say, with not a single confirmed sighting, we believe the actions and collective spirit of the many, mostly nameless, heroes is ultimately the reason we had a body to lay to rest. For that, we will be forever thankful.

“We would like to say thank you for the fact that, even in these most tragic of circumstances, with the help and support of ISCA funeral directors and the mind-blowing generosity of the JustGiving page, we were at least able to give Lorraine a beautiful service.

“Thank you all.”

Azam Mangori has been found guilty of murdering Lorraine Cox. Credit: Devon and Cornwall Police

The jury returned a guilty verdict at 3pm on Thursday, following more than six hours of deliberations.

Devon and Cornwall Police have also welcomed the conviction. Detective Sergeant Samantha Wenham, from the force's Major Crime Investigation Team, said almost 300 specialist investigators were involved in the case.

She added: “In the immediate aftermath of killing Lorraine, Mangori has tried his hardest to manipulate those closest to her and provide misinformation and misdirection in order to get away with these horrendous crimes.

“Crimes that were committed against a vulnerable woman walking home from an evening with friends."

She thanked members of the public who had supported the investigation as well as police teams and partner agencies for their "tireless pursuit of justice for Lorraine Cox”.

Lorraine Cox's disappearance led to a major police investigation in the city in early September 2020. Credit: BPM Media

Assistant Chief Constable Jim Colwell described Miss Cox's murder as "callous and brutal", adding: “Violence against anyone, especially a vulnerable woman like Lorraine, is abhorrent and Devon and Cornwall Police will always do the utmost to identify and bring offenders to justice.

“Devon and Cornwall Police, along with many parts of our society, is currently reflecting on the highlighting of threats many women and girls feel on a daily basis.

“We need to understand and listen to those in our communities who say they do not feel safe and come together to change any culture of fear which may exist.”

The Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) said Mangori's lies had finally caught up with him.

Helen Phillips, a senior crown prosecutor for the CPS, said: “Azam Mangori killed Lorraine Cox then callously disposed of her body, faking messages to maintain the lie that she was still alive and giving false hope to her family and friends.

"He continued his lies throughout the investigation and trial, and still refuses to reveal the location of her remains"

She described the case as "complex" adding: “Huge amounts of forensic and digital evidence were analysed and the investigation led overseas to Iraq and Germany.

“Thanks to the excellent work of Devon and Cornwall Police, the CPS was able to build a compelling case that led to today’s guilty verdict.

“The CPS and police are committed to working together to deliver justice for the victims of violent crime. Our thoughts are with Lorraine’s family and friends at this difficult time.”

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