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Aman Vyas trial: Serial 'night stalker' rapist jailed for murder

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image copyrightMetropolitan Police/PA Wire
image captionMichelle Samaraweera was raped and murdered in Walthamstow after she went out to buy some snacks early in the morning of 30 May 2009

A serial rapist dubbed the "night stalker" has been jailed for life for the murder of one of his victims more than a decade after her death.

Aman Vyas was extradited from India to face trial for the 2009 murder of Michelle Samaraweera, 35, in Walthamstow, east London.

The 35-year-old was also found guilty of five counts of rape and causing grievous bodily harm with intent.

He was sentenced to a minimum jail term of 37 years at Croydon Crown Court.

The court heard Vyas preyed on lone women at night, turning a small area near his home into a "hunting ground" for violent rapes against at least four women.

Prosecutor Tom Little QC called him "the E17 night stalker".

image copyrightMet Police
image captionAman Vyas, who was living in Walthamstow and working at a dry cleaners at the time of the offences, fled the UK after committing his crimes

Vyas was 24 years old when he attacked his first victim on 24 March 2009, following the woman into her block of flats before raping and beating her in her own home.

About a month later, he violently raped his second victim in an alleyway.

Vyas followed his third victim from a shop before attacking her and raping her in a churchyard in the early hours of 29 April.

His final attack ended in the murder of Ms Samaraweera, who lived alone in Hainault but had a boyfriend in Walthamstow.

Vyas attacked her as she walked home from a late-night supermarket on 30 May.

'Victim who fought back'

She was raped and left in a children's play area with all her shopping before a passer-by discovered her body in the morning.

Post-mortem examinations found she had died as a result of pressure to her neck.

Sentencing, judge Mr Justice Bryan said Vyas had stalked Ms Samaraweera before killing her by asphyxiation.

"You were willing to kill in pursuit of your sexual perversions and in Michelle you found a victim who fought back," he said.

"She had to be silenced and silenced she was."

image copyrightMet Police
image captionVyas was caught on CCTV in the same shop as Ms Samaraweera shortly before her death

On 2 July, just a few days after a Crimewatch appeal about Ms Samaraweera's case, Vyas purchased a one-way ticket to India. He left the same day.

He evaded capture until 2011, when his former boss gave police a water bottle used by Vyas's brother which provided a DNA link to the crimes.

image copyrightMet Police
image captionVyas fled the UK two days after a Crimewatch appeal featuring an e-fit picture was broadcast

Following an eight-year court battle Vyas became only the third person India has extradited to the UK.

Michelle Samaraweera's sister Ann Chandradasa said she had feared he "was literally going to get away with murder".

"I'm just glad we have finally got justice for Michelle and I'm glad that the other victims have got justice as well.

"It's partial closure. Him being in prison doesn't take away the pain of what's happened and what all these women have been through."

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  • Aman Vyas trial: Serial rapist guilty of 2009 rapes and murder