'Violent man' jailed for woman's murder in Hackney

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Image caption,
Gavin Lewis was sentenced to serve at least 23 years in jail

A man with a history of violently attacking women in their own homes has been handed a life sentence for murder.

Gavin Lewis pleaded guilty to killing 44-year-old Sandra Samuels at her flat in Stoke Newington, east London.

The "small and slight" mother-of-four had suffered multiple injuries during the 19-minute attack in September 2019.

Gavin Lewis, 41, of no fixed address, refused to attend his Old Bailey hearing, but was sentenced to a minimum term of 23 years in jail.

Judge Nigel Lickley said Sandra Samuels had taken in Lewis and offered him shelter, but he had reacted to her "for some reason in a rage".

CCTV showed after the attack, Lewis locked the front door to the flat and left Ms Samuels to be found two days later by police.

'Any woman was at risk'

The court also heard how in 2010, the defendant punched a woman in her flat in east London and hit her over the head with a wine bottle.

He later pleaded guilty to assault occasioning actual bodily harm.

Two years later, he was convicted of further assault after he punched a woman he was in a relationship with at her home in Islington.

Image source, Google
Image caption,
Sandra Samuels was killed and left for two days in her flat before she was found by police

Judge Lickley said: "I conclude any woman was at risk if alone with you."

"You knew you were capable of violence in particular towards women," he said.

"You knew you had killed her and made no attempt to save her life before you left her flat."

In a victim impact statement Sandra's mother, Juliette Samuels, said the family are "suffering in the most unimaginable way".

She said: "To have Sandra taken from us in such a cruel way, knowing what her last moments may have been like, is torture for us."

"Sandra took Gavin Lewis in, fed him when he was hungry, gave him somewhere to lay his head when he had nowhere else to go."

"We can never forgive Gavin Lewis for taking Sandra away from our family," Mrs Samuels added.

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