‘Cruel’ killer jailed for life
Court: Estonian man will serve at least 24 years for murdering ex-girlfriend
A “cruel and heartless fraud” who throttled his French film producer ex-girlfriend then buried her in a shallow grave has been jailed for at least 24 years.
Kirill Belorusov, 32, strangled Laureline GarciaBertaux, 34, and sent fake text messages to her friends and family to cover his tracks as he fled to Estonia.
Ms Garcia-Bertaux was found naked, bound and wrapped in bin bags in a flower bed in her garden in Kew, south-west London, a day after she was reported missing on March 5.
The defendant, who falsely claimed to have cancer, was arrested in the capital Tallinn under a European arrest warrant and brought back to the UK.
The Old Bailey was told how Belorusov had owed his ex-girlfriend thousands of pounds and spun a web of lies to avoid paying her back.
He killed her as he was about to be exposed as a “complete fraud” after promising to help Ms Garcia-Bertaux move into a fictitious new home.
A jury at the Old Bailey deliberated for less than two hours to find Belorusov guilty of murder.
Jailing him for life with a minimum term of 24 years, Judge Nicholas Hilliard QC said Belorusov killed his former girlfriend to avoid exposure “as a complete fraud”.
He said Ms GarciaBertaux must have discovered his “cruel deception” and he killed her to stop anyone else finding out.
The judge said: “At last she must have seen you as a complete heartless fraud.
“Having seen you giving evidence, I’m sure you held yourself in high regard.
“You could not bear the thought of you being exposed more widely as a total and cruel fraud.
“It was, I’m afraid, all about you. I am satisfied you killed her in an effort to stop being exposed as an imposter and fraud.”
He added: “You are a very calculating person by nature.”
The judge rejected the defendant’s depiction of Ms Garcia-Bertaux, saying she was in reality a “talented, loyal, caring and vivacious” woman who was much loved by her family and friends.
Estonian Belorusov worked in bars and nightclubs, but claimed to have been a movie stuntman and a casino bodyguard for high rollers.
The court heard he met Ms Garcia-Bertaux in 2009 but the couple split up in 2017.
After killing Ms Garcia-Bertaux, the defendant was captured on CCTV buying items including an axe and rubble sacks in Homebase to dispose of her body.
He then sent text messages from Ms GarciaBertaux’s phone to her friends saying she was planning a “boob job” or “lypo” and expressing her delight at her new fictitious home.
Belorusov fled to Estonia, while Ms GarciaBertaux was reported missing by worried friends after she failed to turn up to work.
GUILTY: Kirill Belorusov, 32, strangled ex-girlfriend Laureline Garcia-Bertaux, 34, and was branded a “complete fraud” by the judge