A vagrant has been jailed at the Old Bailey for life with a minimum of 30 years for the “shocking and wicked” murder of a hotel worker during a sex attack.
Vadims Ruskuls, 25, was sentenced on Wednesday after being found guilty of murdering Pardeep Kaur.
The Latvian was thought to be sleeping rough with his mother beneath the bridge crossing the M4 when he pounced on Mrs Kaur.
On the morning of Monday October 17 last year, Ruskuls was caught on chilling CCTV footage as he stalked the 30-year old mother as she approached Harlington Bridge in Hayes, west London.
They disappeared from view for 25 minutes before his shadowy figure emerged dragging Mrs Kaur’s partly naked body on to waste ground, where she was hidden beneath branches and an old sleeping bag.
Prosecutor Crispin Aylett QC had told jurors that Mrs Kaur had scratched Ruskuls’ face in a desperate attempt to get away but her screams were drowned out by the traffic.
The ground where her body was dumped was a “bleak spot” used by rough sleepers, drunks and drug addicts, he said.
Her badly decomposed body was discovered almost a week later by a visiting Norwegian Detective Chief Inspector Kenneth Berg who spotted a human foot sticking out.
Ruskuls was caught after local PC Richard Lewis recognised the stooped figure in the CCTV footage as the man he had spoken to the day after Mrs Kaur’s disappearance.
In the early hours, the constable had been called to a house in Hayes to a report of a “stoned” man trying to open the front door looking like he had been “dragged through a hedge”.
The officer found the suspect walking barefoot with scratches to his left cheek and neck, the court heard.
Following his arrest for the murder of Mrs Kaur, Ruskuls’ DNA was found on the victim’s ankle, sock and the left cup of her bra with a probability of “one in a billion”, jurors were told.
A post-mortem examination failed to establish how she died but Mr Aylett said it was obvious from the way she had been found that it was murder.
The defendant, who denied murder, refused to make any comment in police interviews and declined to give evidence in court.
Mrs Kaur’s husband Rachpal Singh sat in court as the jury delivered its verdict.
In a victim impact statement, he said: “We hoped for a good life here with our daughter, but something terrible happened to us and now our dreams are shattered.
“The circumstances of Pardeep’s death will always haunt me because Vadims Ruskuls has not given an explanation.”
Detective Sergeant Nick Miller, of Scotland Yard, said Ruskuls sexually assaulted Mrs Kaur and “effectively stubbed her life out”.
He said it was a “terrifying” case but added: “Thankfully, stranger killings are incredibly rare in this country.”