Picture Metropolitan Police
A killer and serial rapist called the “E17 night stalker” has been jailed for life.
The judge recommended Aman Vyas, 35, serve a minimum life term of 37 years.
Vyas was sentenced at Croydon Crown Court of six counts of rape and the murder in 2009 of 35-year-old Michelle Samaraweera.
Tom Little QC prosecuting called Vyas “the E17 night stalker”.
He told jurors the attacker used Walthamstow, in East London, as his “hunting ground” for a “series of violent rapes” between March and May 2009.
Vyas fled Britain for India two days after an e-fit picture appeared on the Crimewatch television programme.
Detectives also had a partial DNA match taken from a bottle used by Vyas’ brother – it showed a familial link to the crimes.
It took police officers more than eight years and 30 court hearings to have Vyas extradited.
It’s said Vyas fought the judicial system “tooth and nail”.
Ms Samaraweera’s sister, Ann Chandradasa, 48, said:
“I actually really thought that he was literally going to get away with murder because of the amount of time he was in India and the amount of hearings.
“I’m just glad we have finally got justice for Michelle and I’m glad that the other victims have got justice as well.
“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.”
Ms Samaraweera was raped and strangled in a children’s playground, where her body was discovered by a dog walker.
Picture Metropolitan Police: Vyas’ victim Michelle Samaraweera
Vyas was also convicted of raping three other women aged between 35 and 59 in March and April 2009.
Sentencing him to life with a minimum sentence of 37 years, Mr Justice Bryan 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.”
“You were willing to kill in pursuit of your sexual perversions and in Michelle you found a victim who fought back.
“She had to be silenced and silenced she was.”
Detective Sergeant Shaleena Sheikh said:
“Vyas carried out horrific and violent attacks on four women which, tragically, culminated in the murder of Michelle Samaraweera.
“He then did all he could to evade responsibility for his crimes and fled to India.
“He added further distress to those he hurt by subjecting them to a trial.
“I would like to commend the dignity and bravery shown by his victims and their families throughout this process, which has lasted over 10 years.
“Despite having DNA from the scenes of the crimes, Vyas was not on the database and this prompted a lengthy and complex investigation, which saw more than 1,100 DNA swabs taken and 1,815 addresses visited.
“We also issued more than 60,500 posters displaying an image of the suspect.
“The scale of this investigation has been remarkable, and the case has lasted a decade, taking our inquiries to many different countries and resulting in a lengthy extradition process.”