Police make arrest in Latvia over rape and murder of Jeshma

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The Independent Online

The prime suspect in the rape and murder of a student, Jeshma Raithatha, could be returned to Britain within weeks after his arrest in Latvia.

The prime suspect in the rape and murder of a student, Jeshma Raithatha, could be returned to Britain within weeks after his arrest in Latvia.

Viktors Dembovskis was detained under a European arrest warrant on Thursday night in his home town of Livani, 150 miles east of the capital, Riga.

Officers had been liaising with Interpol and the Latvian authorities in their hunt for Mr Dembovskis. Two members of the Metropolitan Police murder investigation team had flown there to oversee the operation.

The car wash attendant disappeared from the home he shared with other immigrant workers, close to where Jeshma lived in Greenford, west London, shortly after the 17-year-old was reported missing by her parents on Monday, 16 May.

Because Latvia joined the European Union in May last year, extradition procedures are likely to be fast-tracked.

Sources said Mr Dembovskis would appear in Preile district court in south-east Latvia. At that court appearance, a judge will consider whether there are any bars to his extradition.

If there are none, and Mr Dembovskis consents to be extradited to the UK to face questioning, arrangements will be made for his return.

If he does not consent, the judge still has the power to order his extradition at his first court appearance. Mr Dembovskis would, however, have the right to appeal against the decision.

The process could see Mr Dembovskis back in the UK within weeks or it could potentially take up to two months.

Scotland Yard praised the Latvian authorities and said they had been "extremely helpful".

This week, detectives released CCTV footage of Jeshma's final movements. The footage shows Jeshma shopping in Primark and then Poundcity, before catching the bus to Sudbury Hill. Arriving there at about 3pm, Jeshma then began her walk home, which would have taken her along a footpath through a wooded area towards the Wood End estate.

It is there police believe she was raped and then stabbed three times in the heart.