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Serial rapist convicted of murdering woman in east London in 2009

|News, Violent crime

A violent rapist who preyed on lone women in the dark has been convicted of murdering one of his victims more than a decade after her death.

Aman Vyas, 35, was extradited from India to face trial for a series of rapes and a murder in relation to crimes committed against four women in Walthamstow between March and May 2009.

Today (Thursday, 30 July) he was convicted of five counts of rape, causing grievous bodily harm with intent and the murder of 35-year-old Michelle Samaraweera following a trial at Croydon Crown Court. He had pleaded guilty to a separate count of rape at an earlier hearing.

Vyas was 24 years old at the time, living in Walthamstow and working at a dry cleaners at the time of the offences. His four victims ranged in age from their thirties to fifties.

Vyas’ first victim was followed into her block of flats before she was raped and beaten in her own home shortly after midnight on 24 March, 2009.

He threatened his second victim before violently raping her in an alleyway just after midnight on 22 April, 2009.

Vyas followed his third victim from a shop before attacking her and raping her in a churchyard in the early hours of 29 April 2009.

Ms Samaraweera, Vyas’ final victim, was attacked as she walked home from a late night supermarket shop on 30 May, 2009. 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 that Ms Samaraweera had died as a result of pressure to her neck.

Vyas fled the UK one month after her death. But a 2010 public appeal which included CCCTV images of a person of interest that police wanted to identify, raised the suspicions of Vyas’ former employer who recognised him and contacted the police. Vyas was extradited back to the UK from India in October 2019.

Aisling Hosein, from the CPS, said: “This has been a long and arduous journey for the victims and their families who have waited more than a decade for Aman Vyas to be held accountable for his depraved actions.

“These were violent attacks by a sexual predator who prowled Walthamstow by night looking for lone women.

“I would like to highlight the courage of the victims who came forward to assist in bringing this man to justice and those that bravely gave evidence in court against their attacker.

“I would also like to thank all the criminal justice partners involved in extraditing Vyas.

“I hope today’s verdict will provide some comfort to the victims and their families - and in particular for the loved ones of Michelle Samaraweera, who were finally able to get justice for her murder. Our thoughts remain with them all at this time.”

Vyas will be sentenced at Croydon Crown Court on 21 August 2020.

Notes to editors

  • Aman Vyas (D.O.B.: 18 August 1984) is from India
  • Aisling Hosein is a Senior Crown Prosecutor within the pan-London homicide unit at CPS London North

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