A serial rapist, known as the “E17 night stalker”, has been jailed for life with a minimum term of 37 years for the 2009 murder of one of his victims.
Aman Vyas, 35, was sentenced on Thursday for six counts of rape of four women, grievous bodily harm and the murder of 35-year-old Michelle Samaraweeta.
He was extradited from India to face trial at Croydon Crown Court, where prosecutors told jurors he turned a small area near his home in Walthamstow, east London, into his “hunting ground”.
Vyas carried out a “series of violent rapes” between March and May 2009, the court heard. On 30 May 2009, Samaraweeta was attacked by Vyas, then 24, after visiting a supermarket around 1am.
He raped and strangled her in a children’s playground, where her body was discovered by a dog walker shortly after 5.15am.
He fled the UK following a Crimewatch appeal about Samaraweera’s death, purchasing a one-way ticket to India and leaving the same day.
After evading arrest for two years, he was finally arrested in India in 2011 after his former boss gave police a water bottle Vyas’ brother had drunk from, which showed partial DNA linked to the crimes was a male sibling.
Last year, Vyas became only the third person and the second Indian national to be extradited from India to the UK, following an eight-year court battle involving around 30 hearings.
Samaraweera’s sister, Ann Chandradasa, 48, said she thought “he was literally going to get away with murder” because it took so long to extradite him from India.
“I’m just glad we have finally got justice for Michelle and I’m glad that the other victims have got justice as well,” she said.
“It’s partial closure. Him being in prison doesn’t take away the pain of what’s happened and what all these women have been through.”
Mr Justice Bryan, who handed down the sentence, told Vyas: “In the spring of 2009, there was a stranger rapist prowling the streets of Walthamstow looking for his prey. You were that rapist.”
He said Vyas had stalked Samaraweera before killing her.
“You were willing to kill in pursuit of your sexual perversions and in Michelle you found a victim who fought back,” said Mr Justice Bryan.