London

Suitcase murderer Tomasz Kocik sentenced to life in prison

Tomasz Kocik Image copyright Met Police
Image caption Tomasz Kocik admitted dumping the body in the canal but denied murder

A man who beat his girlfriend and put her unconscious body inside a suitcase before dumping it in London's Grand Union Canal has been jailed for life.

Tomasz Kocik, 38, of Buckingham Road, Harlesden, was found guilty of murdering Marta Ligman, 23.

The trial heard Ms Ligman may have been alive when Kocik dragged her from their flat to the canal in north west London.

At the Old Bailey he was told he would serve a minimum of 18 years and six months.

Kocik was caught on CCTV cameras early in the morning of 1 May this year dragging an "extremely heavy" and large suitcase for half a mile from his home to the canal towpath and then filmed again when he returned home an hour later with wet trousers.

Judge Nicholas Hilliard told Kocik Ms Ligman had suffered a "severe beating" at his hands.

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Image copyright Met Police
Image caption Tomasz Kocik continued to use Marta Ligman's Facebook profile days after her death, the court heard

He said: "Dead or dying you then treated her body in a grotesque and demeaning way, hauling her in a suitcase down to the canal and carrying a stick to try to submerge the case when you got there."

Kocik then followed a "determined" course of action to mislead her family, friends and police by using Ms Ligman's Facebook account to "leave a false trail", the judge said.

The court heard Ms Ligman's body was discovered 10 days later by the occupants of a houseboat who spotted her dyed red hair streaming from the case after it collided with the hull.

Her body was in a tight foetal position wrapped in bin bags and curtains.

Despite her family asking him to report Ms Ligman's disappearance Kocik failed to report her missing until after the body was found in the canal.

Ms Ligman was in Poland when she met Kocik in an online dating chatroom, before moving to London in 2012 to live with the forklift truck driver.

The jury heard that colleagues at the delicatessen where Ms Ligman worked described Kocik as an "obsessively jealous, controlling boyfriend".

In his defence Kocik, a Polish national, claimed he had found Ms Ligman dead at their flat after days of amphetamine fuelled bondage sex sessions.

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