A Muslim man has been jailed for life for the brutal murder of a sex worker in East London.
Farooq Shah, 21, will serve a minimum of 29 year in jail for the motiveless killing of Mariana Pope in October last year.
Woolwich Crown Court heard that Shah had warned Ms Pope – who was six weeks pregnant with her second child at the time of the attack – to not solicit for sex in the area because the road she was working on was close to the local mosque.
The court was shown CCTV footage of Shah hanging about Ilford Lane in Redbridge, East London on the night of 28 October. The area is said to be popular with prostitutes.
Around midnight, he approaches Ms Popa and after a brief conversation, he plunges a knife twice into her chest even as traffic continued to flow along the road.
The victim is then seen staggering into a late-night pizza shop where she collapses in a pool of blood. Ms Popa, already a mother of one daughter, later died at an East London hospital from severe internal bleeding.
Shah was arrested after police were able to identify the bicycle that he used to flee the scene after the stabbing.
He told police he was at home watching the animated comedy Family Guy at the time of the murder.
But he was eventually traced to his address after police scanned through more than 400 hours of CCTV recordings in and around the Redbridge area. Prior to targeting Ms Popa, Shah had also robbed a disabled man of his phone.
Detective inspector Darren Richards, the investigating officer, said: “Shah has never given any reason or expressed any remorse for killing Mariana. He’s given no reason because there was no reason, other than he’d armed himself with a knife and was prepared to use it that night. First he threatened a vulnerable man for his phone, then he attacked Mariana, thinking they were alone.
“Fortunately he was caught on camera and we were able to put together his movements and bring him before the courts. His callous murder has deprived a young daughter of her mother and a family of their loved one. I hope today’s sentence brings some sense of justice for them.”