Businessman from Hendon found guilty of murdering pregnant wife

Times Series: Robert Ekaireb, 39, of Corrigan Close, Hendon. Robert Ekaireb, 39, of Corrigan Close, Hendon.

A wealthy businessman has today been found guilty of murdering his pregnant wife seven years ago, despite her body having never been found.

Robert Ekaireb, 39, of Corrigan Close, Hendon, was convicted at the Old Bailey of murdering Lihau Cao who disappeared in October 2006.

Lihau, who left China in 2002, had spoken to doctors about terminating her pregnancy, saying she feared Ekaireb would make an unsuitable father.

When she was 15 weeks pregnant, a doctor raised concerns Ekaireb had suddenly stopped taking long-term medication for depression, making him prone to violent mood swings.

In August 2006 he was arrested for assaulting Lihau and for possession of a flick-knife, following an argument in their car.

Ekaireb was charged but Lihau later withdrew the assault allegation. 

On October 23, 2006, she made four calls to her brother in Denmark telling him she was unhappy with Ekaireb. This call was the last time police could prove she was alive.

Following an investigation, officers believe the couple argued about his suspicions she had been working as a dancer behind his back in order to save up enough money to leave him.

Investigating officer, Detective Inspector Andy Manning, said: “Ekaireb lost control and killed her as they argued on 23 October 2006 at their flat. He then disposed of her body, cleared up the flat and carried on with his life.”

A woman screaming was heard by a witness at that time.

Panicked, Ekaireb is thought to have rolled her body up in the bedroom carpet and put it in the car boot to dispose of.

A security officer at the premises saw the carpet being carried out late at night before the car left. It struck him as unusual as Ekaireb would usually pay contractors to carry out any work for him.

It is believed he used his links to an organised criminal network to dispose of Lihau's body.

Ekaireb never returned to the flat, registering it with an estate agent for re-letting and hiring a firm to refit carpets and clean the property.

Ekaireb was arrested on June 7, 2012 and charged the following day. He will be sentenced on January 7 next year.

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