'Stoned' loner who killed jogger is jailed for life

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The Independent Online

A loner who murdered a Harrods shop assistant and buried her body on the common where she used to go jogging was jailed for life yesterday.

Garath Davies was told by a judge at the Old Bailey that he would face a minimum term of 23 years for killing Egeli Rasta. Judge Richard Hawkins said he believed the attack had "sexual motivation and involved sexual conduct".

Davies, 23, of Mitcham, south London, told a trial he had been chain-smoking cannabis and was "very stoned" on the day the 27-year-old Estonian died. He was found guilty last November of murder and perverting the course of justice by burying the body to avoid detection.

Miss Rasta went missing in July 2006 and her body lay undiscovered in a copse near Mitcham Common for 12 days. Detectives found a kitchen knife covered in blood at the home Davies shared with his mother. The name "Gaz" was carved into the branch of a tree near where the naked body of Miss Rasta was found after police were alerted by a dog walker.

Davies, from Llanelli, South Wales, later told police: "I'm afraid I might have done it. I can't remember."

Precisely what happened to Miss Rasta was unclear because her body was undiscovered for 12 days and decomposed so badly that a pathologist was unable to establish the exact cause of death.

The victim's mother, Sirje, told the court in a victim impact statement that her daughter wanted to become a social worker and that "helping others would be her mission in life".

"This horror will never end for me and my family," she added.