Mariana Popa, a Romanian citizen who had arrived in Britain to look for some work, was gruesomely murdered in Ilford, Essex on October 28, 2013 — just weeks after her arrival in the country. Her killer, 21-year-old Farooq Shah, was on trial for the past eight months and earlier today was sentenced to 29 years in prison, reports Breitbart.
Mariana Popa, 24, was stabbed to death by the Muslim man who is accused of blaming Mariana for working as a prostitute near a local mosque. Farooq had previously warned Mariana Popa not to work near the mosque. When Mariana didn’t pay heed, the enraged Farooq decided to take action all by himself and stabbed the woman to death. Mariana, a mother of one, was pregnant at the time of her death.
According to the Daily Mail, Mariana allegedly worked as a sex worker in a stretch of road notorious for such activities. Farooq, who was riding a bicycle at the time of the incident, stabbed Mariana in the chest after having a verbal altercation with her. The grievously injured Mariana then stumbled across the road into a Pizza shop near the road, collapsing in a pool of blood.
Mariana Popa had been in Britain for just three weeks when the incident happened. According to boyfriend Nicolae Drezaliu, the couple had initially left their Romanian town of Caracal in 2012 and briefly lived in Italy. After living there for a while, they decided to move to Britain, where Mariana had a few friends. According to Nicolae, Mariana had been trying hard to provide for her family.
On the day of the incident, October 28, Shah was seen loitering near the forecourt of a BP garage, not far from Ilford lane. CCTV images from the area shows Mariana walking towards Farooq and saying something to him. He is then seen stabbing her twice in the chest.
According to prosecutors, Shah was at first warning Mariana to leave the area. When she refused to heed him, he ended up stabbing her to death. In his defense, Shah’s attorneys claimed that the man shown in the CCTV footage wasn’t him and that this was a case of a mistaken identity. He also said at the time of the incident, he was in fact at home watching an episode of Family Guy.
However, police authorities have also found that merely an hour before he committed the murder, Farooq stole mobile phone worth $400 from a blind man at knife point.
During the trial, he was asked about the conversation he had with Mariana Popa before he stabbed her. The Judge Christopher Kinch QC asked him:
“Did you ask her to go with you? Did you offer her money? Did she say no because you had a bike and didn’t even have a car? ‘Or were you on this night patrolling the area for prostitutes? Did you want to challenge Miss Popa and ask her to get out of that area, to get away from the mosques?”
Farooq told the judge that he would never pay money for sex since he was quite handsome. He also added the fact that there were sex workers near a mosque did not bother him much.
At the end of the trial, Farooq Shah was found guilty by the judge, who jailed him for life. He will soon begin serving a 29-year-old life term.
[Image via The Mirror]