Murderer of local girl given three life sentences

Extradited Viktor Dembovskis faces justice at the Old Bailey

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Viktor Dembovskis has been sentenced to three life sentences after being found guilty at the Old Bailey of the rape and murder of Greenford student, Jeshma Raithatha. 43 year old Dembovskis, a Latvian national, previously of Dimmock Drive, Greenford was found guilty by unanimous verdict of two counts of rape and murder. The judge has imposed a whole life tariff.

On 16th May, 17 year old Jeshma Raithatha left Claremont High School in Kenton, where she was studying for her A levels. She did not return home that day and was reported missing by her family and over the next 8 days enquiries to trace Jeshma's whereabouts where conducted without success. Then, a week later, a physical search of an area around the recreation ground between the David Lloyd Leisure Centre and Greenford Road (behind Sudbury Tower), which would have been close to Jeshma's possible route home, led to the discovery of a body in undergrowth close to the nearby path. A post-mortem gave her cause of death as multiple stab wounds to the heart.

Forensic testing took place over the following few days, and in the meantime officers put together Jeshma's last known movements using CCTV footage. Officers also conducted house-to-house enquiries for possible witnesses and information to assist the investigation. In nearby Dimmock Drive, not far from the scene, occupiers told police of a man who had suddenly left the address on the 20th May, leaving behind his personal belongings. Amongst these belongings was a blue fleece jacket containing bloodstained jeweller. DNA found on the jacket matched Jeshma's. In photos published in the Sun newspaper, Dembovskis was seen wearing a jacket similar to one recovered in Dimmock Drive. Amongst items found at the scene was a set of keys which were found to fit the locks to the address and room were Dembovskis lived in Dimmock Drive.

The search for Dembovskis moved abroad. On 20th May, he had gone to Victoria coach station and purchased a one-way ticket to Latvia. A European arrest warrant was obtained, and detectives travelled to Latvia to work with their authorities. On 2nd June, he was arrested at his home address in Livani, and extradition was granted.

DI John Crossley the investigating officer said,

"This terrible crime took away a beautiful young lady in the prime of her life and destroyed a loving and very private family. I pay tribute to their bravery and dignity throughout the trial.

Despite the overwhelming evidence against him, Dembovskis has fought the case all the way, putting the family through the trauma of a trial. DNA samples placed Dembovskis at the scene, with a one in a billion chance that he did not commit these terrible crimes. He has never, at any time, displayed remorse for his actions.

I would like to thank the Latvian and Lithuanian community for their assistance throughout this investigation; without their information and the help they gave, it is unlikely Dembovskis would have been identified as the perpetrator so quickly."

Assistant Commissioner Tarique Ghaffur said,

"This was a terrible murder of an innocent young lady in the prime of her life, who had a future ahead of her. The gaping hole that this has left in the lives of her family will never be filled.

I thank the officers for relentlessly and painstakingly pursuing this case and bringing this man to justice. I also extend my thanks to the Latvian and Lithuanian communities in London and in Latvia for the assistance they have given in this case".

Jeshma's devastated family expressed hopes that his punishment would be a message to others that the taking of innocent lives will not be tolerated in a civilised society.

March 30, 2006