LONDON: An Indian-origin hotel housekeeper whose body had been discovered from a wasteland near Heathrow airport in west London last November was raped and murdered by a homeless stranger, a UK court was told on Wednesday.
Pardeep Kaur had been reported missing on October 17, 2016, by a relative after she did not come home from work.
The 30-year-old's missing person's investigation was soon taken over by the Metropolitan Police's Homicide and Major Crime Command, who arrested and charged Vadims Ruskuls, from Latvia, for Kaur's murder and preventing her lawful burial.
Her murder trial opened at the Old Bailey court in London this week, where the jury was told that Ruskuls "pounced" on Kaur as she walked to work, 'Evening Standard' reports.
"The defendant must have pounced on Pardeep Kaur at some point on that ramp, he must then have sexually assaulted her and then murdered her. There is some evidence that Pardeep Kaur must have fought back. A day after the incident, it was noticed he had a number of scratches on his face," Prosecutor Crispin Aylett told the court.
"But if Mrs Kaur had cried out, her screams would have been drowned out by the sound of the early morning traffic... This was a shocking, simply shocking crime," the prosecutor said.
The body of Kaur, who was born in India and worked as a housekeeper at a hotel in the area, was discovered decomposed and hidden under a sleeping bag and branches in wasteland five days after she was reported missing.
The court heard suspicion at first fell on Kaur's husband Rachpal Singh who reported her missing on the same day but lied to police because he was working in the UK illegally.
However, he was swiftly ruled out as the killer.
Ruskuls denies murdering Kaur. The trial is expected to conclude in a few weeks.