Barking man 'showed little remorse' over murdering mother-of-two

Maria Jane Rawlings  was aged 45 and a mother of two daughters living in the Chelmsford area

Valentin Lazar admitting murdering Maria Rawlings in Chadwell Heath - Credit: Met Police

A man has admitted murdering mother-of-two Maria Rawlings after meeting her on a bus near Chadwell Heath.

Valentin Lazar, 20, stabbed the 45-year-old to death after they met on the EL3 bus just after 11pm on May 3 last year. Her body was found in bushes in Little Heath on May 4.

Today (November 19), Lazar pleaded guilty at the Old Bailey to one count of murder. He will be sentenced at the same court at a later date.

Emma Currie, from the Crown Prosecution Service, called Maria Rawlings a "vulnerable" woman.

She said: "She had attended A&E on the night of her murder, but tragically left before she was seen.

“The prosecution case included DNA and footprint evidence as well as CCTV footage which caught Lazar leaving with the handbag Ms Rawlings had been wearing earlier that evening.

"He had also left behind the baseball cap he had been wearing previously at the scene of the murder.

“Valentin Lazar is a violent man who has shown little remorse for his actions. When initially arrested he even claimed to suffer from memory loss, saying ‘I can’t remember what happened yesterday’.

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“Women should be free to travel through London without fearing violent attacks. The CPS is committed to bringing offenders to justice in respect of violence against women and girls.

"I hope this conviction provides some sense of justice for the family and friends of Ms Rawlings. Our thoughts remain with them at this time.”

The victim had only been on the bus for about 10 minutes when it terminated and she and Lazar got off. CCTV caught him guiding her towards some shrubbery.

Her naked body was found by a dog walker the next day. She suffered multiple injuries to her mouth, chest and knee as well as 13 fractured ribs.

CCTV caught Lazar boarding a bus alone towards Dagenham after the attack.

A public appeal led to Lazar being identified after a social media user posted underneath an ITV London news article stating that he knew who the suspect was.

Lazar was arrested on May 9 by police officers who made contact with the social media user.