Aman Vyas, who was accused of rape and murder of a woman and rape of three other women in 2009, fled to India and was extradited to the UK in October 2019, has been found guilty and faces a long term in jail when sentenced on August 21.
Vyas, 35, who raped and murdered Michelle Samaraweera, was the third Indian citizen extradited from India since the 1992 India-UK extradition treaty. His extradition was the subject of a campaign over the years by Labour MP Stella Creasy.
Scotland Yard said on Friday that Vyas was convicted at the high court on Thursday for offences that occurred in Walthamstow in north London between March 24 and May 30 of 2009. He was also found guilty of one count of grievous bodily harm and six counts of rape.
After the crimes sparked anger, the police said that it was established that on July 2, 2009, a month after Samaraweera’s murder and just a few days after a television appeal about the case, Vyas purchased a one-way ticket to India, leaving the same day.
A manhunt commenced to find Vyas and extradite him back to the UK. In 2011, inquiries revealed at one stage that Vyas was in New Zealand, he then made his way to Singapore and the trail went cold.
It was on July 4, 2011 that police were informed by Indian authorities that they had arrested Vyas in New Delhi as he tried to take an outbound flight. Extradition proceedings commenced but it was not until October 4, 2019 that British officers escorted him from New Delhi to London Heathrow that he was arrested.
Detective sergeant Shaleena Sheikh said: “Vyas did all he could to avoid responsibility for his crimes. He fled abroad and then added to the distress of those he hurt by making them go through the ordeal of a trial. However, the injuries Vyas inflicted told the true story of this violent criminal and the jury have seen right through his lies”.
She added: “Although we had DNA from the scenes of his crimes, Vyas was not on the DNA database and was a complete stranger to his victims; to bring him to justice required an extraordinary investigation. This case lasted more than ten years, needed enquiries in many different countries and finally a lengthy extradition process”.
“The sheer scale of the investigation was also remarkable. There were extensive media appeals, and thousands of homes and businesses were contacted, in person or through leaflets. Vyas’s crimes were wicked and relentless and I am thankful that such violent predators are rare”.
Previous extraditions from India to the UK are: Maninder Pal Singh Kohli (Indian citizen, on July 29, 2007, for the rape and murder of British teenager Hannah Foster; Somaia Ketan Surendra (Kenyan citizen, on July 8, 2009, in a cheating case; and Kulwinder Singh Uppal (Indian citizen, on November 14, 2013, in kidnapping and false imprisonment case.