A man has been sentenced to life imprisonment after being found guilty of murdering his lover before stuffing her corpse into a suitcase.

Judge Stephen Kramer QC sentenced Laszlo Gyarmati, 29, at Central Criminal Court where it took a jury five hours and 38 minutes to find him guilty of murdering Alexandra Kovacs last July.

The pair had met on the evening of Wednesday, July 17 before going back to her home in Lee Road, Mill Hill.

They had sex in her bedroom but the mood changed when they argued over a plan to arrange illegal sham marriages.

Gyarmati, who lived in Station Road, Finchley, had told the court he wanted Miss Kovacs to be quiet and covered her mouth with his hand.

But as she “shrieked for help” he grabbed her throat with one hand and put a pillow over her face with the other. When he took the pillow away from her face, Miss Kovacs was dead.

Gyarmati, who said he had used cannabis and MDMA that evening, fell asleep next to her dead body, and the following morning “folded” it into a suitcase belonging to one of Miss Kovacs’s housemates.

He left the house shortly after 7.30am and dumped the case in Dollis Valley Greenwalk.

Gyarmati pleaded guilty to manslaughter, claiming the violence only lasted seconds and that he did not mean to kill Miss Kovacs.

But on hearing the jury’s guilty verdict, Judge Kramer said he was satisfied Miss Kovacs’s death took longer than Gyarmati claimed.

He condemned Gyarmati for having deliberately “throttled and suffocated” Miss Kovacs, using enough force with the intention to kill her.

Sentencing Gyarmati, Judge Kramer said: “I’m satisfied that what you did that night was not premeditated. It may be that we shall never know the real motive for what you did. But I do not accept your evidence that you were just trying to keep Miss Kovacs quiet.

“You not only snuffed out Alexandra Kovacs’s life but in doing so you deprived her friends and family of a lively, active and friendly young lady.”

He thanked the jury for the “obvious care and attention” they took during the trial.

Gyarmati will serve a minimum of 17 years and will be eligible for deportation, which Judge Kramer said he would have otherwise requested owing to Gyarmati being “detrimental to the public good”.

Gyarmati, who was wearing a grey sweatshirt as he stood in the dock, showed no emotion as the guilty verdict was read out this afternoon.

Detective Chief Inspector Nicola Wall of the Metropolitan Police's homicide and major crime command said: “Alexandra was a young woman starting out in life when she was killed by Laszlo Gyarmati. She was working very hard sending money back to Hungary to her mum and younger brother.

“Alexandra knew Gyarmati and was happy to be in his company that evening. She obviously had no thoughts that he would hurt her. Sadly he betrayed that trust in the ultimate way."