Home Barking, Dagenham, & Surrounding Areas Virtosu ‘beat sister-in-law to death’ at Ilford home after murdering his wife, despite immigration and social services being aware

Virtosu ‘beat sister-in-law to death’ at Ilford home after murdering his wife, despite immigration and social services being aware

Old Bailey

Nicolae Virtosu, 49, of Ilford, stands trial at the Old Bailey after being accused of beating his sister-in-law to death on April 9, 2021. The court heard he was previously convicted of murdering his wife in Moldova in September 2009 by strangling her to death.

The family were aware the Nicolae Virtosu has murdered his wife, but it re-emerged at the ‘forefront’ of their minds after he made persistent threats to the sister in law between December 2020 and April 2021. In fear of her life, she anonymously reported him to the Home Office for living in Britain unlawfully, and not being permitted to work here.

After this was unsuccessful, she would go on to record his conversations on the phone and informed a close friend.

She also made several reports to the Metropolitan Police, and both agencies continued to fail to take immediate action, and by the time they referred her case to a multi-agency meeting, she had already been murdered.

Virtosu told the sister-in-law that she ‘might end up like his late wife’ and told her husband, Lurie, ‘you will get a surprise’. In one audio recording, he was frustrated that “the man is the boss of the household and the woman is subservient” yet Lurie allows his wife to take control.

In another audio recording, Virtosu was heard saying: “I will cut a devil’s head off and I will go to prison and over there”, liking that UK prisons were “more normal.”

Jurors heard that the wife-killer threatened Lurie by claiming: “In the same way that I have killed my wife, I could easily kill yours too. It’s not a big deal.” This prompted another frenzied call to the police, with the victim saying: “I really need your help. I mean, I need the police’s help. First of all, he is not in this country legally…Secondly, I am telling you, he threatens that he is going to kill me”.

Two Metropolitan Police officers attended the following day, but they said they would not evict the defendant, and instead report him to immigration services. This would over a month prior to her murder.

The relationship between Virtosu and the victim became strained due to arguments over ‘household chores, noise, and money’.

Jurors heard that Svetlana, originally of Moldova, had been living with Virtosu and her husband, as well as others, at an address in Ilford since 2018. The relationship between the two had become fraught, with arguments occurring over “household chores, noise in the house and money”.

“Set against a background of threats to kill, the defendant, on Friday April 9th 2021, waited until everyone other than Svetlana had left the family home and then killed her by repeatedly and brutally striking her with a hatchet,” The prosecution said. This was approximately 11:30am.

Virtosu was then caught on CCTV leaving the property, and at this same time, texted his brother “Ffeta died”, with this set at 12:07pm. Lurie made frantic efforts to contact his wife before racing home and entering through an upstairs window, where he met his partner on a sofa with “blood bubbling from her mouth”. He made efforts to comfort her and noticed “cuts to her head and hand” as well as a hatchet.

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Her cause of death was determined by a post-mortem analysis to be multiorgan failure caused by head trauma and blood loss.

Catherine Pattinson, prosecuting, said: “This is a case involving a violent death at the hands of this defendant which occurred in April 2021, and threats to kill made by the defendant to the same person in the weeks and months beforehand. There is now no dispute or issue that it was this defendant that killed the victim and that he did so by striking her repeatedly with a hatchet.”

She continued: “The prosecution say that this is a clear case of murder. We say the defendant, Mr Virtosu, killed his victim with murderous intent and that when he did so, his ability mentally to understand the nature of his conduct, namely to understand what he was doing, to form a rational judgment and to exercise self-control in respect of what he was doing, were not substantially impaired by any form of mental disorder.”

Virtosu, of Ilford, has denied one count of murder and two counts of threats to kill. The trial continues.

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