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Mechanic who raped and strangled trainee-lawyer is jailed for life

Elizabeth Nnyanzi
Elizabeth Nnyanzi

A mechanic has been jailed for life, in the UK, for raping and strangling a beautiful and talented trainee lawyer in an act of "unspeakable wickedness".

Peter Kibisu, 24, attacked Elizabeth Nnyanzi, 31, in her bedroom after a drink and drug-fuelled night out, betraying the trust of his close family friends who had taken him in.

He then tried to cover his tracks and headed off for a full day of work at a BMW dealership before returning to the home to report her death on August 14 last year.

It was only after his story about an intruder at the £600,000 family home in Harrow, north-west London unravelled that Kibisu admitted his crimes.

The tearful family of Miss Nnyanzi gathered at the Old Bailey, where he was sentenced to a minimum jail term of 27 years.

Sentencing, Judge Richard Marks QC told him: "She was a quite outstanding young woman of immense talent and ability with a life of huge potential ahead of her. She was variously described as caring, tenacious, hard working, beautiful and graceful.

"What you did that morning was truly shocking. Your actions were those of unspeakable wickedness and it is frankly hard to comprehend how you could have done that to anybody, still less a young woman like her."

Opening the case, Mark Heywood QC said the defendant had been living with the Nnyanzi family for about nine months, during which time Miss Nnyanzi regarded him as a much younger "cousin".

At the time of the killing, her family members were all away and she was alone in the house with Kibisu.

Peter Kibisu

Mr Heywood said: "The defendant returned home to where he was living with very close family friends having been out for almost the entire night.

"He was very probably affected by drink and in the very short time before he then left once more - no more than one and a half hours - he took very grave advantage of those who had given him a home by first sexually attacking and then killing Elizabeth Nnyanzi, one of the daughters of the house who was then in the property in her bedroom."

He tried to cover his tracks by sending a text message to the victim en route to work saying: "Sorry I had to leave. I think you were in the shower at the time."

At about 6pm that night, Kibisu dialled 999 to report that he had come home from work and found Miss Nnyanzi was not breathing.

On arrival, officers found her lying dead in her bedroom wearing a jumper dress and underwear which had been put on inside out.

The patio door was ajar with tool marks suggesting an intruder, while Kibisu appeared to be in "extreme distress, crying and sobbing", the prosecutor said.

Officers found he had noticeable marks on his face, neck and arms which he put down to work-related injuries and his barber.

Kibisu went on to break the news of Miss Nnyanzi's death to her sister Cressida, who then contacted other family members.

He was initially interviewed as a significant witness but was arrested within days for the murder, the court heard.

A pair or bloodied boxer shorts belonging to the defendant were found in a bin and Kibisu's DNA was found under the victim's broken fingernails, showing how she had tried to fight him off during the attack.

One neighbour told police he heard "high-pitched" noises coming from an upstairs room of the house on the morning of Miss Nnyanzi's death which were at first "shocked" and then seemed in "panic or fear", repeatedly saying "oh my God".

The court heard how Kibisu had been taken in by the family through the close, long-standing ties between his mother and Coleen Nnyanzi, the victim's mother.

In a statement read to the court, Mrs Nnyanzi described him as a "wolf in sheep's clothing".

She said: "As Elizabeth's mother, my life has been shattered by the events which took place on August 14 when my daughter Elizabeth was so brutally raped and killed by Peter Kibisu.

"We cannot begin to comprehend how Peter Kibisu could turn on us, leaving our family in a state of permanent anguish.

"Peter is without remorse. A cold manipulative person. We helped him in his hour of need. We took him in. His mother took no responsibility for him. How did Peter repay us? He raped and killed our daughter. He seemed not in the least affected by his actions. Peter attempted to cover his evil deeds."

She said her faith had been "severely tested" by what happened to her "kind, caring and loving eldest daughter".

Ms Nnyanzi's father Joseph said: "I feel as though someone has stamped on my heart. My life has been shattered as a result of this heinous incident."

Her sister Antonia told how she was "paralysed by grief and pain", while Cressida described her sister as a "beautiful, graceful, highly ambitious lady".

Cressida said in her statement that she had always regarded Kibisu as an "untrustworthy" character who the family had been "guilt trapped" into taking in.

In mitigation, Courtenay Griffiths QC read out an apology from Kibisu saying: "I accept full responsibility for my actions and will spend the rest of my life trying to be a better person.

"I am deeply sorry for my family and all those I have hurt."

Kibisu, who had pleaded guilty to murder and rape at earlier hearings, showed no emotion as he was sent down to begin his sentence.

Afterwards, Detective Chief Inspector Tim Duffield said: "Not only did Peter Kibisu brutally rape and murder a lifelong family friend in her own home, he then went on to concoct a version of events in a callous attempt to conceal the truth.

"Kibisu had ample opportunity to admit his role in Elizabeth's death at an early stage, but instead chose to put her family through the further ordeal of a potential criminal trial. It was only when confronted with a whole raft of evidence gathered during the police investigation that he finally accepted his guilt."

The family of Miss Nnyanzi said in a statement: "We are relieved that Peter Kibisu, who murdered and raped Elizabeth, will be imprisoned for a long time, so that he will no longer pose a threat to the public.

"We want to thank everybody who has genuinely supported us. It has been the longest wait of our lives, but our faith in the legal system has remained strong and justice for Elizabeth has prevailed."