A cleaner who murdered his girlfriend and dumped her body in rubbish to be incinerated in a bid to cover up the killing is facing a life sentence.
Police in London mounted what is believed to be one of their biggest ever rubbish search operations in an attempt to find the body of Maureen Gitau, 24.
But Ms Gitau’s body was destroyed in the flames of a huge waste processing plant in south Bermondsey, south east London, after she was killed by 55-year-old Mark Moodie and he sought to cover up his evil deed.
Moodie, of Woolwich, had taken her to a block of flats in Richmond House, Greenwich, where he worked as a cleaner, on December 5 2022 – and she was never seen or heard from again after he killed her and disposed of her body in the block’s rubbish bins.
Detectives pored over more than 500 hours of CCTV from doorbell cameras, buses and shops in an effort to piece together Ms Gitau’s last movements – and after picking holes in Moodie’s alibi, charged him with murder.
Mark Moodie, 55, murdered Maureen Gitau and disposed of her body in rubbish that was then sent to an incinerator
Maureen Gitau’s body has never been found. Police raked through 2,750 tonnes of rubbish in a bid to find her remains
Mark Moodie was captured on CCTV wearing surgical gloves as he pulled a large rubbish bin into the cleaner’s area of a block of flats
Moodie had denied murder and two counts of perverting the course of justice in relation to false statements he made police about her movements in an attempt to cover up his crime. He was convicted of murder after a six week trial.
Woolwich Crown Court heard that Ms Gitau had meet Moodie when they worked as cleaners at the Oval cricket ground in the summer of 2022, and reportedly became ‘more than just work colleagues’.
Moodie had claimed his victim had phoned him to ask if they could meet on the night she disappeared – and said he met her at a bus stop in Deptford Bridge, gave her £10 and a cigarette, and spoke to her before going home.
But CCTV revealed he had taken Ms Gitau to Richmond House, where he worked as a cleaner during the day, and at some point killed her before disposing of her body in a bin out of sight of security cameras.
Maureen met Moodie when they were working as cleaners at the Oval cricket ground in the summer of 2022 but were ‘more than just work colleagues’.
Moodie claimed Ms Gitau had phoned him to ask if they could meet after work on the night she was last seen, December 5 last year.
He said he travelled by bus to meet her in Deptford Bridge, found her at a bus stop, gave her £10 and a cigarette and spoke to her for about five minutes before returning home.
Police enquiries revealed he had taken Ms Gitau to Richmond House, sneaking in via an automatic gate as a vehicle drove in. An hour later, he was seen wearing surgical gloves and ‘manoeuvering a large bin’ near to the cleaners’ room.
The inside of the bin could not be seen on CCTV as Moodie moved rubbish from another bin into the receptacle he had just brought in.
He was then seen drinking – and an hour later he travelled home alone using an Oyster card. However, he was also carrying his victim’s phone.
Prosecutor James Dawes, KC, earlier said: ‘The defendant made a statement about his last contact with her to the effect that he had seen her at a bus stop for five minutes in an area of Deptford on the way home on the evening of 5 December.
‘Further enquires were made by the police and looking at the telephone evidence, Oyster card usage and CCTV it became clear that his account to the police on 16 December was false on nearly every important requirement.
‘It became clear the defendant travelled to Deptford and met with the deceased and together they went to building called Richmond House where the defendant worked as a cleaner during the day, he did not have access at night.
‘The deceased did not leave Richmond House. Her cellphone’s travels are consistent with the defendant having it on his way home.
‘The next morning, 6 December, he returned to work and filled the bin with more waste. The bins were collected on 8 December and the rubbish was sent to an area which included an incinerator.’
Mark Moodie had told police he met Maureen Gitau at a bus stop and spoke with her briefly before going home
But CCTV reviewed by detectives revealed his alibi had been ‘false on nearly every important requirement’ – with footage showing Ms Gitau (right) at Richmond House with him
Mark Moodie was captured on CCTV moving rubbish from another bin into the one he had just brought into the room
Police only became aware that Ms Gitau was missing after a missing person’s report was filed on Saturday December 10 – five days after Moodie killed her, and two days after her remains had been unwillingly taken to an incinerator.
In the search that followed, more than 2,750 tonnes of waste were transported to a police search site in Essex in 125 trucks.
More than 60 officers a per day had the unenviable task of sifting through the rubbish, logging up 20,000 search hours in total between January 9 and February 23, with 60 officers involved each day.
Despite their valiant efforts, they were already too late, with Maureen’s body long since destroyed in the flames. However, they were able to snare Moodie after interviewing him and noting that his alibi could be disproven with evidence.
Detective Chief Inspector Kate Blackburn of the Metropolitan Police said: ‘My thoughts today are with Maureen’s family, who have been cruelly prevented from putting a much loved daughter, sister, niece and cousin to rest.
‘I am glad we have been able to bring to justice the man responsible for her death. Mark Moodie murdered Maureen and then disposed of her body. He has never admitted any responsibility and told lie after lie after lie.
‘He is a contemptible individual and I am glad the jury has seen through his deceit and found him guilty of Maureen’s murder.
‘My team spent many months investigating Maureen’s murder: their professionalism and dedication is just one example of the Met’s determination to bring killers to justice.
‘Once we realised how Moodie had disposed of Maureen’s body, we carried out one of the largest searches of waste the Met has ever seen.
‘We were desperate to find her, for the sake of her family, and it will always be a regret that she was gone by the time we understood what Moodie had done with her body.’
Moodie will be sentenced on a date to be fixed.
Source: | This article originally belongs to Daily Mail