| 19 May 2024, Sunday |

Iraqi asylum seeker found guilty of gruesome murder in UK

An Iraqi asylum seeker in the UK who followed a woman home before dismembering her and dumping her body parts has been found guilty of murder.

Azam Mangori, 24, killed Lorraine Cox, 32, in his room above a kebab restaurant in the English city of Exeter after targeting her as she walked home alone through the city center in September last year.

Police concluded that Cox died from suffocation as the T-shirt she had been wearing was found in her mouth.

According to Exeter Crown Court hearings, Mangori kept her body in his apartment for several days before chopping it up and disposing of the remains in bins in a nearby alleyway and in local woodland.

Mangori, an Iraqi Kurd who had an asylum claim rejected in December 2018, used Cox’s SIM card and Facebook account to pose as her in an attempt to convince her family and friends she was safe, according to police reports.

The police used thousands of hours of CCTV footage to find, arrest and charge Mangori, with some footage showing him making several shopping trips to buy bin bags, plastic sheeting and tape in the days after Cox’s death.

Mangori also viewed content online related to burial, including a website titled: “How to dig a grave by hand,” police said after seizing his electronic devices.

He admitted to preventing the lawful burial of Cox, but denied murder and told the court he had “panicked” when he “discovered her dead on the floor” because he feared being deported.

“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. Deep down I knew she was dead, but I thought she would wake up,” he added.

Prosecuting lawyer Simon Laws told the jury that Mangori had a “morbid interest in amputation” and had viewed images relating to the subject in the days before and after the murder.

“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,” Laws said. “He did not have the dead body of Lorraine Cox in his room until a couple of days later. When he did, he performed a neat and professional amputation of her limbs.”

Detective Sgt. Samantha Wenham, of Devon and Cornwall Police’s Major Crime Investigation Team, welcomed the verdict.

“This investigation has involved close to 300 specialist investigators and experts covering extensive lines of enquiry, including searches, forensics, CCTV and mobile phone examination,” she said.

“In the immediate aftermath of killing Lorraine, Mangori had tried his hardest to manipulate those closest to her and provide misinformation and misdirection in order to get away with these horrendous crimes — crimes that were committed against a vulnerable woman walking home from an evening with friends.”

The defendant will be sentenced on April 7.