The moment a jealous husband fills a green plastic jerry can with petrol, which he later uses to set his estranged wife on fire in a brutal murder, is captured in chilling CCTV footage.
Georgian Constantin, 42, killed Valentina Cozma, 40, in a horrifying fireball attack at her home before confessing to the murder on Facebook on February 9 this year.
Neighbours and passers-by called emergency services after hearing screams coming from the property on Campbell Road, in Stoke-on-Trent.
A court heard the mother-of-one’s charred body was found so contorted from the devastating blaze that she resembled a ‘wax figure’.
Police launched a manhunt for her ex-husband after he admitted attacking her in a Facebook post he later deleted. He was arrested 150 miles away at an address in London five days later and charged with Ms Cozma’s murder.
Constantin was found guilty following a trial at Stafford Crown Court on October 12 and was jailed for life to serve a minimum of 28 years on Tuesday.
Georgian Constantin (pictured), 42, killed his estranged wife in a horrifying fireball attack at her home before confessing to the murder on Facebook. He has been jailed for life to serve a minimum of 28 years
Valentina Cozma (pictured), 40, was brutally murdered by her estranged husband Georgian Constantin in February this year
The court heard Constantin, of Stoke-on-Trent, was out for revenge after their relationship had ended. He was also convicted of making threats to kill Ms Cozma’s new boyfriend Dita Costel after he used her phone to tell him he’d ‘sorted her out and was coming for him’.
Detective Inspector Adrian Webb, of Staffordshire Police, said afterwards: ‘Today’s sentence reflects the gravity of Georgian Constantin’s crimes.
‘This is a tragic case in which a caring mother, who was trying to build a better life for herself and her son, was taken away by Constantin’s self-centred actions.
‘My thoughts remain with Valentina’s son and the rest of her family.’
The trial previously heard how Constantin had arranged to meet Ms Cozma at her house under the pretence of repaying £500.
She had lent him the money in order to allow him to move out of the family home a month earlier.
But at around 3pm, neighbours and passers-by reported hearing screams from the house and called emergency services.
The kitchen was engulfed in flames when firefighters arrived and when the blaze was finally brought under control.
Ms Cozma’s body was discovered below the back window in the middle room.
She was pronounced dead at the scene and a post mortem later established she had died due to the effects of fire.
Chilling CCTV footage shows Georgian Constantin buying a jerry can two days before Valentina Cozma’s death
Valentina Cozma, 40, was murdered by Georgian Constantin, 42, on February 9 when he doused her in petrol and set her alight
CCTV footage shows Georgian Constantin entering a shop to buy a jerry can which he later filled with petrol and used to brutally murder Valentina Cozma
Detectives found a plastic bottle in the back yard containing petrol and the bottle cap was found to contain DNA that matched Constantin.
CCTV captured him purchasing a green plastic jerry can, filling it up with petrol and paying for it at Sainsbury’s petrol station – even though he didn’t have a car.
Constantin went into two shops in Hanley to try to sell his laptop saying he ‘needed money’ on the day of the murder.
The shops declined to buy it and this same laptop was found at the scene near to Ms Cozma’s body.
Further CCTV footage showed Constantin outside Ms Cozma’s house again at 2:32pm, just minutes before the fire.
Det Inp Webb added: ‘Georgian Constantin’s cruel, self-pitying and cowardly act has left a son without a mother and a father jailed for murder.
‘Valentina sought a happier life and Constantin made sure that was never going to happen.
‘Constantin murdered his ex-wife by setting her on fire. He made no attempt to assist her or seek help.
‘Instead, he threatened to kill Valentina’s new partner before running off to London.
‘He thought he could use false details, dispose of phones and hide on the streets of London after murdering his ex-wife.
Georgian Constantin was also convicted of making threats to kill Ms Cozma’s new boyfriend Dita Costel after he used her phone to tell him he’d ‘sorted her out and was coming for him’
CCTV captured Georgian Constantin purchasing a green plastic jerry can, filling it up with petrol and paying for it at Sainsbury’s petrol station – even though he didn’t have a car
‘He underestimated our determination to seek justice for Valentina.
‘Throughout the trial, Constantin has sought to taint and derogate Valentina, a woman he said he loved.
‘He made unsubstantiated claims that she was unfaithful, that she had many boyfriends and that her mind had been twisted.
‘He tried to convince the jury that Valentina was to blame for her own death.
‘Valentina never had a voice in this trial but her family and friends described a her as a loving, hard-working mother who was “looking forward to the future”.
‘They said she tried her best to help and support her ex-husband who gambled away the family’s money.’