Vicious Killer jailed over 1994 Murder of Masseuse

A man has been jailed for the 1994 murder of a masseuse. He was caught after Met scientists used new DNA techniques.

Vicious Killer jailed over 1994 Murder of Masseuse d

Sandip Patel, aged 51, of London, has received a life sentence after Met scientists used new DNA techniques on a single hair left at a murder scene in 1994 to prove he was the killer.

The hair was found on a ring worn by Marina Koppel, who was stabbed at least 140 times at her Westminster flat.

Marina lived and worked in her Westminster flat during the week and spent time with her husband in Northampton during the weekend.

She worked as a masseuse and occasional sex worker.

Marina was also a mother and worked hard to send money to her family in Colombia, including her two children who were cared for by her family there.

On August 9, 1994, Marina’s husband became worried when he could not get hold of her.

He then travelled to her flat. When he arrived, he discovered Marina’s body unresponsive and covered in blood.

He alerted police who conducted an analysis of the crime scene, including Marina’s ring.

During their search, police found a plastic shopping bag which had Patel’s fingerprints on it.

But Patel worked in the shop where the bag came from, so his fingerprints were not considered significant evidence and for many years, the case went unsolved.

In 2008, the ring had a hair attached and was examined.

In 2022, available techniques allowed for a DNA profile to be obtained from the hair on the ring. The hair was linked to Patel, whose DNA was now on the database after he committed Actual Bodily Harm in 2012.

The case was taken on by Specialist Crime detectives who continued to gather evidence.

Patel was arrested on January 19, 2023, under suspicion of Marina’s murder.

Subsequently, fingerprint experts correlated his footprints with bloodstained bare footprints discovered at the crime scene.

This, coupled with DNA evidence from hair, fingerprints on a plastic bag, and the utilisation of Marina’s stolen bank card at a nearby cash point shortly after the murder, served as compelling evidence convincing the jury of his culpability.

Sadly, her husband passed away in 2005 before he could see justice for Marina’s murder.

At the Old Bailey on February 15, 2024, Patel was found guilty of murder.

Paying tribute, Marina’s sister-in-law and brother-in-law said:

“Marina Koppel, our sister-in-law, was an extremely bright, highly intelligent and charismatic person, who saw good in her family and all people she met.

“She wanted to give them everything they needed, especially her two children and nephew who grew up in Colombia.

“Her family and friends would have been in a much better place because of her abundance of energy for life had she not died.

“Marina was a daughter, a sister, a mother, a loving aunt, a daughter-in-law and a sister-in-law who was much loved by all of us as she loved all of us.

“Had Marina lived, all of the lives of her family and friends would have been enriched and further evolved. We have all suffered these many, many years because we lost Marina so early in life”.

Operational Forensic Manager Dan Chester, the Met’s Forensic Lead for Cold Case Homicide Investigations, said:

“Unsolved historic murders can be among some of the most complex and challenging cases for police to solve.

“However, today’s result provides an example where forensic science, newer technologies and collaborative working practices have had a positive impact in bringing a brutal killer to justice.

“This was a great team effort with the forensic scientists, fingerprint experts, the forensic manager and the investigating team all playing their part in solving Marina’s murder.

“Forensic techniques and technologies are constantly evolving, and the police will continue to review serious unsolved cases and, where possible, pursue new opportunities to enable both the prosecution of those responsible and to exonerate the innocent.

“This includes cases specifically related to violence against women.”

Patel received a life sentence and will serve a minimum of 19 years in prison.

Detective Superintendent Katherine Goodwin, Head of the Specialist Casework team for Central Specialist Crime. said:

“We are so pleased that finally Marina’s killer has been brought to justice. It is extremely sad that her husband did not live to see this day.

“Our thoughts and sympathies are with Marina’s family and friends and we hope that today’s verdict will bring some closure for them.

“Even though Patel has been convicted for the brutal murder of Marina, we may never know the reasons for his actions on that day.

“Unsolved murder cases are never closed and it is due to the developments of forensic techniques we have been able to identify the suspect for this barbaric crime.”

Dhiren is a News & Content Editor who loves all things football. He also has a passion for gaming and watching films. His motto is to "Live life one day at a time".

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