26 years for killer who hid body

A killer was jailed for at least 26 years today after he refused to reveal what he has done with the body of his victim.

George Smith, 60, "disappeared without trace" after becoming involved in a love triangle with a woman half his age, the Old Bailey heard.

Drug dealer Dwayne Cupidon, 26, was found guilty yesterday of murdering Mr Smith and the judge said he would reduce his sentence if he would give up the body.

But Cupidon remained silent and was jailed for life with a minimum term of 26 years.

Mr Smith was last seen in August last year but traces of his body tissue were found in the bathroom of his flat in Barnet, north London.

Judge Giles Forrester said: "The family have not had closure. This is a horrific and tragic story."

He said Cupidon had trawled the internet looking for ways in which to kill Mr Smith who was involved in a love triangle with him.

These included nerve gas and venomous snakes. He had also hired a car and looked up wooded areas and waste disposal sites.

After killing him in the kitchen, he had dismembered him and moved the body bits away, said the judge.

"This was deliberate and cold-blooded behaviour of a very high order indeed," said the judge.

Mr Smith's former wife Judith had told the court: "Because his body has never been found, we have not been able to grieve in the normal way.

"I only hope that one day the truth will come out and he can be buried."

Crispin Aylett QC, prosecuting, said that two months before his death Mr Smith had "lived it up" in a Devon hotel with Kerry Mustoe, 30, with whom he had a long-term, on-off relationship.

Miss Mustoe had just left her new boyfriend, Dwayne Cupidon, and had asked Mr Smith to collect her things.

Mr Aylett said Mr Smith had also taken a small safe containing £14,000 and used this for the trip.

Cupidon, of no fixed address, later told someone he was looking for Mr Smith because he had "nicked money worth dying for".

Mr Aylett said: "George Smith simply vanished, apparently without trace. He simply disappeared.

"Inside the flat it was like a scene from the Marie Celeste."

Mr Aylett added: "The murder has its roots in a love triangle."

Detective Inspector Glen Lloyd said later that forensic evidence proved Cupidon killed Mr Smith, the father of three teenage children.

He said: "I hope he will now show respect and compassion to Mr Smith's family and tell us where his remains are so that they are able to bury the man they loved."