A man who sexually assaulted and killed a defenceless stranger as she made her way to work and then dumped her body has been jailed for a minimum of 30 years.
Vadims Ruskuls, 25, a Latvian national of no fixed abode has been sentenced to life imprisonment and will serve a minimum of 30 years’ for the murder of 30-year-old mother of one Pardeep Kaur. Ruskuls was convicted at the same court following a week-long trial on Tuesday, 11 April 2017.
On Monday, 17 October 2016 at around 06:00 am Pardeep started her day like she had done for four years, and began the 40 minute walk to the Sheraton Skyline Hotel in Harlington, where she worked six days a week as a housekeeper.
Pardeep and her husband both worked long hours and lived in Carnarvan Drive, Hayes, where they saved money to send to their six-year-old daughter who lives with her grandparents in India.
When she hadn’t returned home at around 20:00 pm that evening Pardeep’s husband informed police and a missing persons investigation began.
Officers examined Pardeep’s phone data to establish when and where it had last been used and quickly discovered that the last call was picked up by a mast on top of Hayes Fire Station – next to the M4 motorway. This call turned out to be Pardeep’s concerned supervisor but she didn’t answer.
Detectives studied CCTV of the area and retraced Pardeep’s journey to work and she was caught on camera in Bedwell Gardens walking towards the ramp up to Harlington High Street. That was the last sighting of her alive.
The investigation was taken over by the Homicide and Major Crime Command on Thursday, 20 October and two days later the team leading the search discovered Pardeep’s body concealed beneath a sleeping bag covered with branches underneath the Harlington High Street flyover.
The discovery was made by Detective Chief Inspector Kenneth Berg, a visiting officer from Norway who was with the murder investigation team.
Officers re-examined the CCTV footage and spotted a man walking ahead of Pardeep at around 06:30 am on the morning of her disappearance.
Around 25 minutes later the man was picked up by the same camera dragging a body along the walkway and back towards Bedwell Gardens in the direction of the woodland, where Pardeep’s body was eventually found.
Police received a call from a member of the public in the early hours of the following morning to reports of a man, later identified as Ruskuls, acting suspiciously in the area of Colbrook Avenue. He was barefoot and had recent scratch marks on his face but he gave officers a fake name and story and they dropped him at an address in Dominion Close.
PC Richard Lewis attended this call-out, and recognised Ruskuls from the CCTV of the attack circulated amongst officers during the investigation. He would go on to give evidence at the trial.
Officers from the Met’s Homicide and Major Crime Command were informed of this incident and they reviewed footage from the police van used to transport Ruskuls home and identified him as the same man in the CCTV.
He was circulated as wanted for Pardeep’s murder shortly after and enquires were underway to locate and arrest him.
On Monday, 31 October 2016 Ruskuls attended Slough Police Station where he was arrested on suspicion of murder. He was charged on Thursday, 3 November and was also further charged with preventing her lawful burial.
Following his arrest Ruskuls’ DNA matched samples of several items of Pardeep’s clothing, as well as a black sock found nearby in the undergrowth.
Detective Inspector Jamie Stevenson, from the Met’s Homicide and Major Crime Command, said: “This has been a truly shocking and horrendous case and Ruskuls has proved himself to be a violent and dangerous rapist and murderer.
“Pardeep was walking to work, as she did every day, when she suffered a horrific fate at the hands of Ruskuls, who sexually attacked and killed his defenceless victim before leaving her body in woodland. It is everybody’s worst nightmare.
“Enquiries quickly led police to Ruskuls, and one of my officers was able to identify him from blurry CCTV footage of the attack taken from a distance.
“Ruskuls now faces a significant period behind bars, and I hope that this verdict allows Pardeep’s family to grieve and eventually come to terms with what has happened to this loving wife and mother.”
PC Lewis, who has been a police officer for five years, said: “A big part of my job, and the job of all Met officers, is remembering faces and names, and all the small details that could make the difference in a case.
“When I first encountered Ruskuls he was very unnerving, and I will never forget that meeting. So when I first saw the CCTV of this appalling attack, something about the suspect’s appearance and body type was instantly familiar and I knew that it was the same person.
“I am just glad I was able to play a small part in bringing a dangerous offender to justice, and do my job effectively.”