- Former dancer Li Hua Cao was 22 weeks pregnant when she disappeared
- Robert Ekaireb, 38, denies murdering his wife and dumping her remains
- Court heard millionaire flew into a jealous rage at the couple's luxury flat
- Li Hua's brother reported her missing from China in February 2007
- The 27-year-old has not been seen or heard of since October 2006
PUBLISHED: 13:46, 5 November 2013 | UPDATED: 13:49, 5 November 2013
Robert Ekaireb, who is accused of murdering his pregnant wife Li Hua Cao, arriving at the Old Bailey
A wealthy property developer, consumed by jealousy over his pregnant wife's lapdancing past, killed her seven years ago and dumped her body leaving no trace of her remains, the Old Bailey heard today.
Robert Ekaireb, 38, allegedly murdered former lapdancer Li Hua Cao, 27, after his jealousy and obsessive-compulsive personality, tore the relationship apart.
He then spent the night at a nightclub in London’s West End before arranging for their luxury flat to be redecorated and re-carpeted, it is claimed.
Ekaireb claims that she had packed her bags and left him for a better life - but she has not been seen alive since October 23, 2006.
The couple started a whirlwind romance after meeting at a lapdancing club in Cork, Ireland in late 2005.
They married in October 2006, by which time she was already pregnant.
Prosecutor Brian Altman QC said that Li Hua’s ‘principal ambition in life was to marry a wealthy man who could provide her with a better standard of living, help her support her family in China and allow her to reside and remain in the West.’
He told jurors: ‘You will learn that Li Hua’s ambition was only matched by the defendant’s obsessive-compulsive personality.
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‘He would have paranoid and jealous thoughts about Li Hua and her past as a lapdancer.
‘Despite the superficiality of her married existence and the trappings of wealth Li Hua was not happy and she became disillusioned with a marriage where he controlled her, and would constantly bring up her past, which distressed her.’
Li Hua repeatedly tried to leave Ekaireb, the last time two months before her death.
‘Following him begging her to return and to mend his ways, she did return to him, a decision that was ultimately to cost her her life,’ said Mr Altman.
Li Hua Cao has not been seen since October 2006. Her brother reported her missing from China in 2007
The couple lived at a luxury one-bed apartment at Pavilion Court in the Mount Vernon complex, a private gated community in Hampstead, north London, the court heard.
Li Hau was 22 weeks pregnant when she ‘simply vanished’ on October 23, 2006, jurors were told.
‘She disappeared from the home she shared with the defendant never to be seen or heard from again by anyone,’ said Mr Altman.
‘The prosecution say that is because she is dead and has been from that day, killed by this man.
'Not only has she not been seen or heard from since her disappearance, but no body has ever been found.’
Mr Altman added: ‘She never gave birth to the baby, not because she terminated the pregnancy, but because she did not survive to give birth to it.’
Phone records show that Li Hau contacted her brother Li Bin Cao in Demark earlier that day but never contacted him or her family in China again.
Ekaireb allegedly arrived back at Pavilion Court at 11.07pm and at 11.44pm he rang his parents’ home.He then phoned the manager’s office at Club Tantra nightclub at around 1am before heading there in the early hours. That was the last phone call ever made from the flat, the court heard.
Ekaireb was later ‘less than frank’ about re-carpeting and other work he undertook at the matrimonial home, jurors were told.
He also made no attempts to track down his wife or report her disappearance to police, the court heard.
Pavilion Court in Hampstead, where the couple shared a one-bedroom flat. The Old Bailey heard Ekarieb had the flat completely re-carpeted and re-decorated in the months after his pregnant wife disappeared
Li Hau was finally reported missing by her brother in February 2007 but no evidence has been found that she is alive.
In 2010 the investigation was taken over by a team from the Specialist Crime Directorate of the Metropolitan Police.
Mr Altman said: ‘The prosecution say that the evidence presents a picture of a man who had become totally obsessed by Li Hua, after first meeting her, and thereafter he sought to control her.
‘Marriage was the ultimate control. She was attracted to his wealth and he was attracted to her. But he was exercised by her past, in particular the fact she had been a lapdancer, and he would bring it up as a topic for discussion and argument.
‘It is of course an irony that the very thing she was doing to earn a living is the very thing that would drive him to despair.
‘But in seeking to control her he made her unhappy and it is this and their volatile relationship that ended in her murder.’
Ekaireb, of Corrigan Close, Hendon, northwest London, denies murder.
The trial continues.
Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2487736/Property-tycoon-Robert-Ekaireb-accused-murdering-pregnant-lapdancer-wife.html#ixzz2jmV4YUZ4
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Isn't that the directorate overseeing Grange ?
Edited to add - after looking it up !
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Operation Grange is an investigative review by London's Metropolitan Police Service into the circumstances of the disappearance of Madeleine McCann. The operation, conducted by the Homicide & Serious Crime Command, is led by Detective Chief Inspector Andrew Redwood and he is supported by a further twenty-eight detectives and seven other staff. The review is overseen by the Gold Group management structure. The cost of the operation, which has been funded out of a special fund, has amounted to several million pounds. The review was launched in May 2011 following a request to Scotland Yard from Home Secretary Theresa May, with the support of the Prime Minister David Cameron. The issue of whether this request was the result of "threats" or "persuasion" from Rebekah Brooks was one of the issues raised at the Leveson Inquiry
The Specialist Crime Directorate has been merged with Central Operations to create Specialist Crime & Operations
It encompassed several departments:
Air Support Unit
Child Abuse Investigation Command
Dog support unit
Homicide and Serious Crime
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And isn't that precisely the whole purpose of our judicial system; that a case is made by the prosecution and answered by the defending lawyer, both of whom have responsibility for presenting evidence to judge and jury. This has been avoided so far for Madeleine.
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