‘Cruel’ killer jailed for life

Court: Es­to­nian man will serve at least 24 years for mur­der­ing ex-girl­friend

The Press and Journal (Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire) - - NEWS - BY EMILY PENNINK

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

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