Jury find Finchley man guilty of murdering lover and dumping her body in suitcase

Police cordon off the scene where Miss Kovacs's body was found.

Police cordon off the scene where Miss Kovacs's body was found.

First published in News
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A man has been found guilty of murdering his lover before leaving her naked corpse in a suitcase in woodland.

A jury took five hours and 38 minutes to decide that Laszlo Gyarmati, 29, was guilty of murdering Alexandra Kovacs at her home in Lee Road, Mill Hill.

The pair first met when they shared a house together in Neasden but later began a sexual relationship approximately a month and a half before Miss Kovacs died.

Having arranged to meet on Wednesday, July 17 last year, Gyarmati and Miss Kovacs picked up some food at a chicken shop in Hendon Central and went to her home.

They had sex in the 25-year-old’s bedroom and Gyarmati described they were “getting on well”.

But the mood changed when they began to discuss a plan to arrange sham marriages to earn extra cash.

Miss Kovacs, who worked for a bespoke T-shirt company, said she knew a 20-year-old girl from Hungary she could arrange to be married, but Gyarmati disagreed.

Giving evidence with the help of an interpreter, he had told Central Criminal Court that he felt the girl was "too young", and was going to be caught.

The pair argued and Gyarmati, who had smoked cannabis and snorted MDMA that evening, said he covered his ears with his hands when she did not stop talking.

Gyarmati began to get “wound up” because Miss Kovacs continued to say the plan would work and that she “knew better”, and put his hand over her mouth to get her to be quiet.

He said: “She was unable to take my hand off her mouth and she started to wave her limbs about and was kicking.”

When he let go Miss Kovacs “shrieked” for help. Gyarmati said: “I became nervous because she didn’t stop. She started to kick even more firmly and then I got hold of her throat. I wanted her to stop.”

Gyarmati said he then used his left hand to put a pillow over her face while continuing to hold her throat with his right hand.

When he took the pillow off Miss Kovacs's face, she was dead.

He then went to sleep beside the corpse of the woman he had had sex with just hours before.

On waking up, he put her body in a suitcase belonging to one of Miss Kovacs’ housemates.

CCTV footage showed him leaving the house at 7.33am pulling the suitcase behind him and carrying a bag containing some of her clothes, including the multi-coloured dress she had worn the previous evening. 

He rolled a cannabis cigarette before getting rid of the plastic bag and walking to Dollis Valley Greenwalk where he left the case.

Later that day he sent a Facebook message to Miss Kovacs’s Facebook account saying “what’s up little chick” and called her mobile in an attempt to cover his tracks.

When he was arrested on July 23, he lied to police about killing Miss Kovacs and denied knowing anything about her body being found in a suitcase.

He later pleaded guilty to manslaughter before a jury was sworn in to decide whether or not he murdered Miss Kovacs.

Today the jury returned a majority guilty verdict, 11 to 1. 

More to follow.

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