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Man jailed for killing girlfriend and unborn child in Brent

News   •   Jan 10, 2019 14:12 GMT

Images: Andra Hilitanu

A man who stabbed his heavily pregnant girlfriend to death - also killing their unborn child - has been jailed for her murder.

Ioan Campeanu, 44, (27.06.74), a Romanian national of Neasden Lane, Brent, was found guilty of the murder of 28-year-old Andra Hilitanu and the destruction of their unborn child at the Old Bailey on Friday, December 21 following a trial.

He was sentenced at the same court today, Thursday, January 10, to life with a minimum of 26 years for murder and 14 years for destruction of a child, to run concurrently.

Andra's sister Ramona Hilitanu said in a statement: "Andra was my younger sister. She was one of four siblings. We lost our parents early in life so we had to be close to one another to care for ourselves.

"Our lives took us to different countries and we often spent a long time apart but we would remain in contact regularly.

"Andra met and fell in love with Ioan Campeanu. Ultimately she was taken away from us by this man.

"As the result of Campeanu's actions, we, as a family, face the remainder of our lives with a huge part missing.

"I personally have lost a part of my life that I will never regain. This also applies to the rest of my family as they have lost too.

"Obviously, I know that Andra has gone and has gone forever. What Campeanu has ripped from us the most is the future. Time together with Andra has been taken away from us. The chance to meet again has been taken away from us. The chance to travel to other countries, to have holidays together and experience life together has been taken away.

"It is not possible to accurately describe how upset I am regarding the murder of Andra. The impact on me has been huge. I cannot sleep properly, daily life is difficult to manage, I cry all the time and Andra is constantly in my thoughts. I ache to hear her voice again and to hear her laugh. I long to see her children grow and develop by her side but I am so sad that this will never happen.

"I am aware that families and friends sometimes fall out and not speak for periods. Sadly, towards the end of her life Andra and I were not enjoying the type of relationship that sisters should be enjoying, as we were not talking as much as we should have been. We had time to correct this and make things right. On the 1 June 2018, that time was snatched away from us and I will spend the rest of my life knowing that I will never be able to re-build a relationship with Andra.

"Andra was only 28 years old when she was murdered. Her future has taken away in a cruel manor.

"I do not hate Ioan Campeanu. I am not a hateful person. I am sad at what he has done. I am also frustrated at the way in which he left Andra to die. Ioan Campeanu could have sought help from so many sources and yet chose to do nothing. I will never be able to forget this fact."

Police were called at 02:32hrs on Friday, 1 June by the London Ambulance Service to reports of an unresponsive woman inside a residential address in Neasden Lane, NW10.

The London Ambulance Service was called by Campeanu at 02:24hrs where he admitted killing Andra.

Through an interpreter, Campeanu told the call handler that Andra was dead. When he was asked why he replied: "She's dead. I killed her." He told the call handler that he killed her with some scissors. When asked why he did it, Campeanu replied: "I am on drugs. That's the planets. That's what people wanted…Only one of us should live."

The first officers arrived on scene at 02:39hrs and asked Campeanu what happened. He told officers that Andra was dead and that he had killed her two and a half hours earlier.

The attending officers were struck by how relaxed Campeanu was as he led them to Andra who was found dead in the bathroom. Other officers also noted how Campeanu had a lack of emotion and concern. He had fatally attacker her and the unborn baby with a pair of scissors.

The court heard that Campeanu went for a drive after killing Andra, who was about 30 weeks pregnant, leaving at 00:44hrs before returning and calling the emergency services at 02:24hrs.

He was arrested on suspicion of Andra's murder and was taken to a west London police station.

Campeanu was interviewed at the police station twice later that day and declined to answer all questions put to him.

He was charged on Saturday, 2 June and made no reply to caution.

The court heard that Andra, also a Romanian national, left her husband and children to start a relationship with Campeanu in 2016. They had been renting a room together on and off in Neasden Lane since January 2016. The jury heard that they were heavy abusers of Class A drugs, in particular crack cocaine.

On Saturday, 26 May they told their landlord that Andra was returning to Romania on Monday, 28 May. When they landlord went to the property on Wednesday, 30 May to collect the rent, he noticed that Andra was still there and that their bags were packed. Campeanu told the landlord they had no money and had nowhere else to go. The landlord told them that they could stay while they tried to sort things out.

Between 23:52hrs on Thursday, 31 May and 00:48hrs on Friday, 1 June the landlord exchanged texts with another tenant who was complaining that he could not get to sleep because Campeanu and Andra were arguing. The tenant heard Andra screaming and things being thrown. He was aware of Andra going to the bathroom and locking herself in and the noise of the defendant banging on the door. The tenant said they both returned to their room and there was silence for about 15 minutes before Andra started screaming again. After about five minutes it went quiet.

Shortly after midnight, Campeanu called his daughter who lives in London and said: "I got rid of her, take care of yourself."

Campeanu's daughter told the court that she was aware from previous conversations that her father and Andra were using drugs. He had told her that they were making him confused and destroying him. She was also aware that the relationship between the two of them was not good and that her father had not wanted any more children.

Several witnesses told the court that Andra was in an abusive relationship with Campeanu and that he would regularly beat her. One witness recalled an incident that took place earlier this year where Campeanu kicked Andra and threatened to kill her.

The court also heard that Campeanu forced Andra to take crack cocaine and to steal with him to fund the habit.

On Saturday, 31 May 2018, only a matter of hours before her murder, Andra spoke to her family in Italy about her desire to leave Campeanu and go to Italy or Romania.

No allegations of abuse were ever reported to the police by Andra or a third party.

A post-mortem examination took place on Saturday, 2 June at Northwick Park Hospital and gave the cause of death as a stab wound to the neck.

Campeanu and the victim both had consumed cocaine on prior to the fatal attack.

In addition, the examination found superficial marks around Andra's genitalia. The court heard that the nature and location of these injuries was evidence of an 'intent to destroy the life of a child.'

A post-mortem examination on the foetus found that it died because of a lack of oxygen following the death of its mother.

Detective Inspector Jamie Stevenson, from the Met's Homicide and Major Crime Command who led the investigation, said: "This was Campeanu's final act of brutality against Andra after months and years of domestic violence. He attacked a defenceless Andra and their unborn child and plunged a pair of scissors into her neck. He then left them both to die as he went for a drive, deliberately not summoning help for more than two hours, cruelly ensuring that both Andra and the child she was carrying were dead.

"Despite initially admitting his guilt to the attending officers, Campeanu has since refused to take responsibility for his despicable actions. He has unnecessarily put Andra's family through even more pain and suffering by forcing them to re-live Andra's murder at trial. My heart goes out to Andra's friends and family and I hope today's sentencing gives them at least a small measure of comfort and closure.

"We will never know if reporting the abuse she suffered could have saved Andra, but I would implore anyone who is suffering or knows of someone suffering domestic abuse to call police immediately. Your call will be treated in the strictest confidence and could ultimately save someone's life and save you from suffering from years of regret."

+ The Metropolitan Police Service recently launched a campaign aimed at encouraging victims of abusive relationships to contact police - more information is available here: http://news.met.police.uk/news/met-launches-video-campaign-to-raise-awareness-of-domestic-abuse-338063