Killer who murdered sex worker 30 years ago FACES life in jail after police linked him to print of bare foot and a hair found in his victim’s ring

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A killer identified through a hair caught in the ring of a murdered sex worker and a bloody footprint almost thirty years after the killing is now facing a life sentence.

Marina Koppel, 39, was found dead by her husband in her apartment in Chiltern Street, Marylebone, close to the fictional home of Sherlock Holmes, on August 8, 1994.

The Murder Incident

Sandip Patel, who was 21-years-old at the time and ran errands for his father’s newsagent Sherlock Holmes News on Baker Street, killed Mrs Koppel by stabbing her more than 140 times in a ‘frenzied attack’.

While his finger marks were found on a carrier bag in her kitchen, he was not treated as a suspect at the time.

The crime went unsolved until a review in 2022, when Mr Patel was charged with her murder.

Sandip Patel

How The Killer Was Linked to The Murder

Hair that had snagged in Mrs Koppel’s ring was DNA matched Mr Patel’s, while he was also linked to a bloody footprint found on a skirting board in the apartment.

Mr Patel had extracted Mrs Koppel’s bank card pin during the attack and used the number to withdraw money near his home, it was alleged.

Mr Patel, now 51, denied murder but was unanimously convicted by a jury at the Old Bailey on Thursday. Mr Patel had declined to give evidence in his defence.

Marina Koppel

Members of Mrs Koppel’s family wept as the verdict was announced, while Mr Patel showed no signs of emotion.

Court Ruling

Sentencing was adjourned until Friday, with Mr Justice Cavanaugh telling Mr Patel: ‘There is only one sentence I can pass for this offence. Of course a sentence of life imprisonment.’

Jurors had heard how the Colombian-born Mrs Koppel had previously worked as a hotel chambermaid and later worked as a masseuse and offered sexual services to around 100 ‘well-to-do’ men ‘if the price was right’.

According to her late husband, David Koppel, her clients had included successful people, businessmen, a doctor, and even a politician.

Bill Emlyn Jones, prosecuting, had earlier said that little was known of Mrs Koppel’s last movements, but that the day before she had entered a poker tournament at the Victoria Sporting Club casino and met a client at a Heathrow hotel before returning to London.

While the fingerprints of the then 21-year-old were found on a plastic bag in her kitchen, he was not treated as a suspect because he would have handled bags from his father’s store

Her last known sighting was a visit to Midland Bank on Baker Street at 1.42pm on August 8, 1994. Mr Koppel, who lived in Northampton, had been trying to get hold of her and discovered her body that evening.

‘He found a horrific scene,’ Mr Jones told jurors. ‘In the second bedroom, the one to which Marina would take her clients, David Koppel found his wife on the floor, dead.’

Mrs Koppel was found covered in blood and wearing only black lacy lace-up lingerie that she might wear if she was expecting one of her clients, jurors were told.

Mr Emlyn Jones said she had been stabbed more than 140 times during the ‘sustained and savage’ attack.

He told jurors: ‘Marina Koppel was brutally murdered.’

‘It has taken a terribly long time to solve it, but we now have evidence that she had this defendant’s hair stuck to the ring she was wearing when she was attacked and killed; and his bare foot was pressed against the skirting board next to her.

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Even though Patel’s finger marks were found on an unbranded plastic bag in the kitchen, he was not treated as a suspect because he would have handled bags from nearby Sherlock Holmes News.

At The Crime Scene

Patel only became a confirmed suspect in 2022 after his DNA was matched to a hair found by a scientist on the ring in 2008.

Although technology was still not advanced enough then for scientists to get a DNA profile, it was preserved until 2022 and re-examined.

The bloody footprint was found at the scene in 1994 and matched to Patel after he was made a suspect, the prosecutor said.

Mr Emlyn Jones told jurors: ‘You may have little trouble concluding that if those footprints were made in Marina’s wet blood, then that can only be because they were left by her killer – someone who was in that room, barefoot, at the time of her blood being on the skirting board.

‘All these years later, they have been identified – they are the defendant’s prints – they were made by the sole of his left foot.’

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Ola Alabi
Ola Moses is a certified writer, He writes technically and creatively. He is the CEO of WORDSWORTH, a house where writing is made easier for all. He is a content creator at EsB TV, since 2019. He is a young man that showcases professionalism in all that he does, he was announced as Child and Green Foundation Person of the Year 2018, one of his many lists of honours.

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