• Tuesday, April 23, 2024


Asian-origin man convicted for murder committed 30 years ago

A bloody footprint and a hair stuck to the Colombia-born victim’s ring helped police track down the killer

Murder convict Sandip Patel in custody: Image courtesy Metropolitan Police

By: Shajil Kumar

An Asian-origin man was convicted for the gruesome murder of a Colombia-born woman almost 30 years after the crime, thanks to advances made in forensic science investigation methods, according to media reports.

Interestingly, the crime took place near the fictional home of Sherlock Holmes – Baker Street, and a bloody footprint and a hair strand stuck to the victim’s ring helped the police solve the murder mystery, The Telegraph reports.

On August 8, 1994, Sandip Patel stabbed 39-year-old Marina Koppel, a prostitute, more than 140 times in her rented flat on Chiltern Street.

Patel was then 21 years old and ran errands for his father’s newsagent Sherlock Holmes News on Baker Street, in central London.

Koppel had rented the flat in London while her husband lived in Northampton. Their two children were living in Colombia.

She worked as a masseuse and a sex worker, and spent time with her husband during weekends.

BBC reports Marina’s husband “did not necessarily approve” of her work but “accepted it”.

Shortly after the crime, Marina’s husband tried to contact her on telephone and got worried when his call went unanswered.

He then decided to travel to London to check. When he arrived at the flat he found Marina lying dead in a pool of blood.

While investigating the crime scene, the police gathered crucial evidence, including the ring Marina was wearing.

They also found a plastic shopping bag that had Patel’s fingerprints on it.

However, since the bag had come from the shop where Patel worked, it was not considered significant evidence, and for many years the case remained unsolved.

In 2008, some more items were examined, among them a ring which had a hair attached.

Nearly 14 years later in 2022, the latest techniques available allowed for a DNA profile to be obtained from the hair on the ring. It was at this stage that the hair was linked to Patel.

Patel was arrested on January 19 this year on suspicion of Marina’s murder. Fingerprint experts then matched his footprints to some bloodstained bare footprints that were found at the crime scene.

The Old Bailey court heard Sandip Patel, now 51, and he denied his involvement. After deliberating for over three hours, the jury found Patel guilty.

Operational Forensic Manager Dan Chester said forensic science, newer technologies and collaborative working practices have had a positive impact in bringing a brutal killer to justice.

Marina’s husband died in 2005 before he saw her killer brought to justice.

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