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Killer cleaner, 55, who murdered his girlfriend, 24, then incinerated her body in vast rubbish processing plant near Millwall FC’s stadium is branded ‘cold-hearted’ by his victim’s mother as he’s jailed for life


A killer care taker who murdered his girlfriend then had her body incinerated in a vast rubbish processing plant near Millwall FC’s stadium was today jailed for at least 20 years.

Mark Moodie killed Maureen Gitau then destroyed her corpse in the plant in South Bermondsey, London.

The killer, 55, took his unsuspecting victim, 24, to a block of flats in Richmond House, Blackheath Hill, Greenwich where he worked as a cleaner. 

Ms Gitau was never seen alive again and no trace of her body has ever been found – despite police mounting what is believed to be the biggest rubbish search ever undertaken. 

Detectives studied over 500 hours of CCTV from doorbells, buses and shops to try and found out what had happened to Maureen.

Moodie denied murder and two counts of perverting the course of justice in relation to false statements he made police about her movements to cover up his crime. He was convicted of murder after a six-week trial.

Moodie was jailed for life and ordered to serve a minimum term of 20 years by Judge Nicholas Lavender, who said: ‘You have never given an account of what happened between the two of you in Richmond House. No one but you knows why you killed her.’

Maureen’s mother addressed the killer cleaner directly in court before he was sentenced and branded him a ‘coward and a cold-hearted murderer’.

Mark Moodie killed Maureen Gitau then destroyed her corpse in the plant in South Bermondsey, London

Mark Moodie killed Maureen Gitau then destroyed her corpse in the plant in South Bermondsey, London 

The killer, 55, took his unsuspecting victim, 24, to a block of flats in Richmond House, Blackheath Hill, Greenwich where he worked as a cleaner

The killer, 55, took his unsuspecting victim, 24, to a block of flats in Richmond House, Blackheath Hill, Greenwich where he worked as a cleaner 

Moodie was captured on CCTV wearing surgical gloves as he pulled a large rubbish bin into the cleaner's area of a block of flats

Moodie was captured on CCTV wearing surgical gloves as he pulled a large rubbish bin into the cleaner’s area of a block of flats

Moodie was seen on CCTV moving a large communal waste bin around the basement of Richmond House wearing surgical gloves and it was later seen outside the cleaners’ room.

The rubbish was collected two days later, and taken to the processing plant, Woolwich Crown Court heard.

In the search that followed over 2,750 tonnes of waste were transported to the police search site in Essex in 125 trucks. More than 60 officers a per day had the unenviable task of sifting through he garbage, logging up 20,000 search hours in total.

But the search proved fruitless because he body had been vaporised in the vast incinerator.

Maureen met Moodie when they were working as cleaners at the Oval cricket ground in the summer of 2022 but were ‘more than just work colleagues’.

Moodie had told police he met Ms Gitau at a bus stop and spoke with her briefly before going home

Moodie had told police he met Ms Gitau at a bus stop and spoke with her briefly before going home

CCTV reviewed by detectives revealed his alibi had been 'false on nearly every important requirement' - with footage showing Ms Gitau (right) at Richmond House with him

CCTV reviewed by detectives revealed his alibi had been ‘false on nearly every important requirement’ – with footage showing Ms Gitau (right) at Richmond House with him

Moodie claimed Ms Gitau had phoned him to ask if they could meet after work on the night she was last seen, December 5 last year.

He said he travelled by bus to meet her in Deptford Bridge, found her at a bus stop, gave her £10 and a cigarette and spoke to her for about five minutes before returning home.

Prosecutor James Dawes, KC, earlier said: ‘The deceased in this case is Maureen Gitau who disappeared and has not been seen since 5 December 2022.

‘Her body has not been found.

‘She was reported missing on 12 December by friends and it was dealt with by the police as a missing person’s enquiry.’

Moodie was captured on CCTV moving rubbish from another bin into the one he had just brought into the room

Moodie was captured on CCTV moving rubbish from another bin into the one he had just brought into the room

The victim was last seen when she left a birthday party at her aunt’s home in Evelyn Street, Deptford, southeast London.

Ms Gitau was reported missing by her family five days later.

‘Enquires revealed that one of the last people to speak to her on the telephone on 5 December was the defendant,’ Mr Dawes said.

‘As a result this defendant was spoken to by police.’

Mr Dawes said: ‘The defendant made a statement about his last contact with her to the effect that he had seen her at a bus stop for five minutes in an area of Deptford on the way home on the evening of 5 December.

‘Further enquires were made by the police and looking at the telephone evidence, Oyster card usage and CCTV it became clear that his account to the police on 16 December was false on nearly every important requirement.

‘It became clear the defendant travelled to Deptford and met with the deceased and together they went to building called Richmond House where the defendant worked as a cleaner during the day, he did not have access at night.

‘He and the deceased gained entry to the building by following the vehicle through the automatic gate at 10.30pm.

At around 11.50pm Moodie was seen ‘manoeuvring a large bin near to the cleaner’s room and out of view of cameras.’

‘He put the bin in a place where CCTV did not cover and then filled the bin with waste for a number of minutes,’ Mr Dawes said.

‘He was later seen drinking and an hour after that he travelled home on a bus using an Oyster card. The deceased did not leave Richmond House. Her cellphone’s travels are consistent with the defendant having it on his way home.

‘The next morning, December 6, he returned to work and filled the bin with more waste. The bins were collected on December 8 and the rubbish was sent to an area which included an incinerator.’

Detective Chief Inspector Kate Blackburn, earlier said: ‘My thoughts today are with Maureen’s family, who have been cruelly prevented from putting a much-loved daughter, sister, niece and cousin to rest. I am glad we have, been able to bring to justice the man responsible for her death

‘Mark Moodie murdered Maureen and then disposed of her body. He has never admitted any responsibility and told lie after lie after lie. He is a contemptible individual and I am glad the jury has seen through his deceit and found him guilty or Maureen’s murder.

‘My team spent many months investigating Maureen’s murder, their professionalism and dedication is just one example of the Met’s determination to bring killers to justice. The CCTV alone was a huge part of the investigation, officers watched approximately 500 hours of CCTV to find out what had happened to Maureen.

‘Once we realised how Moodie had disposed of Maureen’s body, we carried out one of the largest searches of waste the Met has ever seen.

‘We were desperate to find her, for the sake of her family, and it will always be a regret that she was gone by the time we understood what Moodie had done with her body.’



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