A man has been convicted of murder after killing and dismembering a woman who went missing on a night out.
Azam Mangori killed Lorraine Cox, 32, in his room above an Exeter kebab shop in September last year, Exeter Crown Court found, with suffocation a potential cause of death.
Following her death Mangori, an Iraqi national, dismembered Ms Cox’s body over the course of a week while using her SIM card in his mobile phone to pretend to her family and friends that she was alive and well.
The 24-year-old, who initially pleaded not guilty to murder but accepted a separate charge of preventing his victim’s lawful burial, disposed of Ms Cox’s clothing and possessions in bins and woodlands in an attempt to cover up the killing.
Mangori was found guilty at the end of a four-week trial at Exeter Crown Court following six hours of deliberation by the jury.
Ms Cox was last seen walking home from a night out with friends at about 1.30am on 1 September. Prosecutors said she had been drunk at the time, and had engaged in a “sexual encounter” with Mangori in an alleyway before they went back to his flat above the Bodrum Kebab House.
Her whereabouts remained a mystery to her family for a week until Mangori, a failed asylum seeker, was arrested by detectives.
Prosecutor Simon Laws QC told the court the defendant had a “morbid interest in amputation” and, days before and after the murder, had looked at images relating to the subject.
Mr Laws said: “Given the dates he viewed this material, you may think it is clear he was interested in the topic before he had any need for information.
“You will no doubt want to consider whether it was this interest that may have motivated him to commit this murder.”
Mangori purchased items to dispose of Ms Cox’s body over a number of days, including a trowel after viewing a web page entitled: “How to dig a grave by hand.”
A pathologist was unable to determine the precise cause of Ms Cox’s death due to the length of time between her murder and remains being found.
Giving evidence, Mangori told the jury she died suddenly after sex in his bedroom having been drinking and taking drugs.
He said he panicked when he discovered her lying dead on the floor, and left her in his room for several days before wrapping her body in clingfilm, bin liners and tape.
“I just remember waking up, like it was a nightmare. I just freaked out when I saw her. I just dragged her on to my bed because she looked really cold,” he said.
“Deep down I knew she was dead but I thought she would wake up.”
Mangori, who was remanded into custody, will be sentenced on 7 April by Mr Justice Garnham.
Additional reporting by PA