Trial of Estonian murder suspect begins in London

Laureline Garcia-Bertaux.
Laureline Garcia-Bertaux. Source: Metropolitan Police/PA Wire/PA Images/Scanpix

The trial of Estonian citizen Kirill Belorusov, 32, who is accused of murdering his ex-girlfriend, the 34-year-old filmmaker and blogger Laureline Garcia-Bertaux, began in London early last week, daily Postimees writes.

According to the charges, Belorusov strangled Garcia-Bertaux to death, tied her hands and feet behind her back, wrapped her body in trash bags and buried it in a flowerbed in her own garden in Kew, South West London, British publication The Sun reported.

Belorusov, who has denied the charges, had broken up with her months beforehand, and gotten in touch with her claiming he had found a new home for her and wanted to pay back money he owed her, the jury heard.

Prosecutor Oliver Glasgow said that Belorusov tricked Garcia-Bertaux into believing that he was going to help her, deceived her with promises of settling his debt to her, and lied to her about the house he had found that she could move into, the Daily Mail wrote.

"It was only inevitable that Laureline Garcia-Bertaux would get suspicious about what was going on — after all, she had only been given very limited details about the property and no [moving] truck ever turned up," Glasgow said.

"Quite how Kirill Belorusov thought he was going to play out this charade remains to be seen, but clearly at some point he decided to kill Laureline Garcia-Bertaux," he continued.

According to Glasgow, once Belorusov killed her, he did all he could to get away with murder. "He buried her body in the garden in order that he could leave the country before she was found; he sent messages to her friends in order that they might believe she was alive and well," he noted.

Meanwhile, he posed as Garcia-Bertaux in texts expressing delight at her fictitious new home and saying she was planning a "boob job" or "lipo" now that the defendant had paid her back, it was claimed.

Glasgow told jurors that the messages were "clearly a lie." Garcia-Bertaux's friends found them uncharacteristic, particularly the description of how she planned to spend the money, jurors were told.

"He expressed concern to those same friends when they contacted him to ask if he knew where she was, he sent messages to her phone begging her to get in contact with him, and he told everyone who got in touch with him that he would do all he could to help find her," the prosecutor said.

"It is difficult to conceive of someone behaving in a more calculated or callous manner," Glasgow said.

Eight-year relationship

The couple met in 2009 and split up in 2017, after Garcia-Bertaux complained that he was a "slob" and would "needle her about her weight." Garcia-Bertaux was originally from Aix-en-Province in France, but had been living in the U.K. for years.

Officers found her naked body wrapped in trash bags in Kew on March 6 after friends raised concerns over messages he sent from her phone and examined a flowerbed in the flat, the Old Bailey was told.

His DNA was found on a ligature tied around her neck after he was arrested in Estonia six days later and extradited to the U.K. on March 20, the jury heard.

Belorusov does not acknowledge the crime and wants the investigation to prove his innocence as quickly as possible.

Belorusov was raised in Tallinn and has served in the Estonian Navy. He moved to the U.K. approximately 10 years ago, and worked as a stuntman as well as a barman at a London nightclub.


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Editor: Aili Vahtla

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