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Killer admits murdering woman he met on east London bus

|News, Violent crime

A man has admitted murdering a woman after meeting her on a bus in east London.

Valentin Lazar, 21, stabbed 45-year-old Maria Rawlings to death after meeting on the EL3 bus in Romford just after 11pm on 3 May last year.

The mother-of-two had only been on the bus for about 10 minutes when it terminated and she and Lazar alighted. CCTV caught him guiding her towards some shrubbery.

Her body was found by a dog walker the next day. She suffered multiple injuries to her mouth, chest and knee as well as 13 fractured ribs.

Today (Friday, 19 November 2021) at the Old Bailey Lazar pleaded guilty to one count of murder. He will be sentenced at the same court at a later date.

CCTV caught Lazar boarding a bus alone towards Dagenham after the attack. A public appeal led to Lazar being identified after a social media user posted underneath an ITV London news article stating that he knew who the suspect was. Lazar was arrested on 9 May by police officers who made contact with the social media user.

Emma Currie, from the CPS, said: “The prosecution case included DNA and footprint evidence as well as CCTV footage which caught Lazar leaving with the handbag Ms Rawlings had been wearing earlier that evening. He had also left behind the baseball cap he had been wearing previously at the scene of the murder.

“Valentin Lazar is a violent man who has shown little remorse for his actions. When initially arrested he even claimed to suffer from memory loss, saying ‘I can’t remember what happened yesterday’.

“Women should be free to travel through London without fearing violent attacks. The CPS is committed to bringing offenders to justice in respect of violence against women and girls. I hope this conviction provides some sense of justice for the family and friends of Ms Rawlings. Our thoughts remain with them at this time.”

Notes to editors

  • Emma Currie is a Senior Crown Prosecutor within the London Homicide unit in CPS London North
  • Valentin Lazar (DOB: 13/05/2000) is of no fixed address. He had been renting in East Ham at the time.

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