Man convicted of killing woman he buried in graveyard

A man has been found guilty after hatching a “cold blooded plan” to kill a woman to steal from her after starting a relationship. Serkan Kaygusuz, 42, killed Norma Girolami, 70, in her home in Highgate, north London, before hiding her body in a graveyard. The pair had met at a swimming baths in 2017 and began a relationship before she started giving him money.

Kaygusuz, who denied murder, will be sentenced on Wednesday. He previously admitted perverting the course of justice by concealing Ms Girolami’s body as well as stealing her bank cards.

The court heard that Kaygusuz, who was unemployed and lived with his parents in Crouch End, had first met Ms Girolami at a swimming baths in Archway. Kaygusuz made an advance in a hot tub which had “flattered” Ms Girolami and the pair began a relationship, the jury was told.

Ms Girolami then transferred the defendant almost £300,000 from early 2018. He used the money to purchase a £20,000 car and to travel to Turkey for a hair transplant.

But in May 2021 “the money tap which had flowed so freely for so long was switched off”, prosecutor Jocelyn Ledward said. During the trial the court heard how Ms Girolami was last seen in mid-August 2021.

She was initially reported missing by a friend on September 13, 2021. Police visited her home where everything appeared to be in order.

Text messages were received from Ms Girolami’s phone number saying she was away on holiday. However, Ms Girolami’s relatives quickly realised that these messages were not from Norma.

The texts were sent from Ms Girolami’s phone by Kaygusuz, whose first language was Turkish. They were littered with grammatical errors and pet names were used incorrectly.

Ms Girolami was officially reported missing on September 20 2021 and following initial enquiries a murder investigation was launched in October 2021.

On August 19 2021, Norma had been on a day trip to to Leigh-on-Sea, Essex. When she returned home, Kaygusuz visited her in the evening and killed her.

He wrapped her body in a bed sheet and, using items he brought with him, he wrapped Norma in large black plastic waste sacks from ‘Homes for Islington’ before securing the bags with black duct tape. He took Norma’s body to a churchyard where he buried her in a makeshift grave.

Kayusuz was arrested on October 1 2021 on suspicion of fraud and false imprisonment, but was subsequently further arrested on suspicion of murder. He was charged on October 4 2021 with murder and two counts of theft. He was remanded in custody where he remained throughout the investigation.

The court heard how, after Norma’s death, Kayusuz had applied for loans in her name amounting to £60,000 and that items of her property, including her jewellery, mobile phone, bank cards, passport and house keys, were found at his address and the address of another woman with whom he was in a relationship.

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Detective Chief Inspector Blackburn added: “Despite having accepted that Norma had been murdered, her loved ones have shown great strength for her throughout our long investigation and now a graphic trial that I know has been an ordeal for them. My thoughts are with them, and with Norma today.

“I am pleased that the outcome is a guilty verdict. Kayusuz’s treatment of Norma was calculated, controlling and highly abusive. He is a dangerous man, fuelled by greed and I urge any other women who may have been pursued by him to get in touch, at the very least to ensure that you are supported.

“My team has remained determined during this investigation for more than a year and a half, they searched diligently until they found Norma and relentlessly pursued the truth of what happened to her. I am incredibly proud that we have been able to return Norma to her family and to witness to the jury find her killer guilty.”

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