20-year-term for man who tried to decapitate girlfriend in 'narcissistic rage'

A "ferocious" killer who tried to decapitate his girlfriend in a "narcissistic rage" has been jailed for at least 20 years.

Alin Apopei, 27, repeatedly threatened to kill 25-year-old sex worker Denisa Silmen and boasted he would get away with it by pretending to be mad, jurors heard.

On July 30 2015, Miss Silmen's mobile phone was recording sound as he stabbed her in the neck and chest. Her last words were: "You finished me off," the court heard.

Miss Silmen was found dead at the flat they shared in Eversleigh Road, east London. She was partially naked and had suffered "horrendous injuries".

Prosecutor Zoe Johnson QC said: "Her head was almost entirely severed from her neck and her chest cavity was cut open, revealing her internal anatomy."

A jury at the Old Bailey rejected Apopei's defence of mental illness and found him guilty of murder.

Sentencing him to life in jail, Judge Gerald Gordon QC told Apopei: "You killed her because you could not face the fact she was finally leaving you.

"The attack that killed her was ferocious and sustained including blunt instruments including an iron, manual strangulation and very many stab and slash wounds."

He said there were 62 injuries disfiguring the victim, probably inflicted after death, adding: "It can properly be described as a slaughter of an innocent."

The judge said the killing was "most likely the product of narcissistic rage of Denisa leaving you". Apopei appeared close to tears and agitated as he was sent down.

Jurors heard the couple had a "volatile" relationship and Apopei had been violent towards Miss Silmen.

On one occasion, he told her: "If you will leave me I shall kill you. If I will go to prison I will pretend I am mad, they will put me in hospital and I will get free from there because I have lots of money."

A month before the murder, the court heard, Apopei laughed and threatened her and a friend, saying: "One day I kill you both."

On the day of the killing, he was heard by a neighbour to tell his girlfriend: "Look what's happened, don't play with fire."

The mobile phone recorded the sounds of the couple apparently having sex before a man says: "I'm going to kill you now. Shall I give you the first one?" then a slapping noise.

The victim screams "oh my God", and Apopei responds: "What did I do to you? Why did you kill me?"

Afterwards, Apopei changed his clothes and left the flat, telling concerned friends of the victim they would find out what happens when you "play with fire".

Miss Silmen was found in her room half inside her wardrobe, covered in blood, with her suitcase on the bed.

Following his arrest, Apopei behaved "erratically", often laughing hysterically then becoming aggressive, the court heard. He said: "I'm guilty. I did do it, but I can't make prison."

He described his girlfriend as "a witch" and paced around his cell ranting about devil worship, the court heard.

The court heard psychiatrists had differing opinions on whether Apopei was mentally ill and it was for jurors to decide whether his responsibility for the killing was diminished.

Ms Johnson said: "It is the prosecution case that the defendant deliberately and viciously stabbed Denisa to death because he was enraged and jealous at the prospect of her finally leaving him."

Following his conviction she told the court there was a "sadistic" element to the killing.

In a statement, the victim's mother, Monica Silmen, said her daughter had come to Britain from Romania for a "better life". She added: "The light in my eyes died when she died."

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