Friday 23 August 2019

'Evil and dangerous' killer who stabbed Irishwoman to death jailed for at least 40 years

Niall Galbally (left), the son of Catherine Burke who was murdered by Kasim Lewis, with DCI Katherine Goodwin reading a statement outside the Old Bailey in London. Photo: Jonathan Brady/PA Wire
Niall Galbally (left), the son of Catherine Burke who was murdered by Kasim Lewis, with DCI Katherine Goodwin reading a statement outside the Old Bailey in London. Photo: Jonathan Brady/PA Wire
Niall Galbally (centre), the son of Catherine Burke who was murdered by Kasim Lewis, speaking outside the Old Bailey in London, with his father (left) and half brother (centre right, names not given). Photo: Jonathan Brady/PA Wire
Niall Galbally, the son of Catherine Burk. Photo: Jonathan Brady/PA Wire
Stabbed to death: Catherine Burke (pictured) was killed by Kasim Lewis weeks before he murdered Iuliana Tudos. Photo: Central News
Iuliana Tudos
Kasim Lewis

Emily Pennink

An "evil" and "extremely dangerous" killer, who stabbed an Irishwoman to death weeks before attacking a second woman, has been jailed for at least 40 years.

Retired civil servant Catherine Burke (55) was found bound and gagged at her £700,000 (€780,000) north London home after police responding to concerns about the mother's welfare forced entry on November 16 2017. She had lived alone with her dog after her son left for university in Brighton.

2019-07-16_iri_51853505_I1.png
Stabbed to death: Catherine Burke (pictured) was killed by Kasim Lewis weeks before he murdered Iuliana Tudos. Photo: Central News

Originally from Galway, Ms Burke had lived at the property in Hill Road, Muswell Hill, for about 20 years.

Her friend Eileen Arnold was the last person to speak to her on the phone on November 15.

Ms Arnold raised the alarm the next day when she could not contact her friend and police kicked in her door.

Officers found Ms Burke's naked body in a bed of her terraced house under a pile of clothes.

Wearing only a pair of odd socks, she had been bound and gagged with a pashmina scarf and stabbed in the neck, back and stomach.

2019-07-16_iri_51853670_I2.png
Iuliana Tudos

Kasim Lewis, 32, was jailed for life with a minimum term of 29 years last May for the murder of 22-year-old Iuliana Tudos on Christmas Eve 2017.

Lewis's DNA was later linked to the death of Ms Catherine Burke, who was stabbed to death at home in Muswell Hill, north London, six weeks before.

On the day he was due to face trial, Lewis, who is originally from Montserrat, pleaded guilty to the murder of 55-year-old Ms Burke on November 16 2017.

Judge Richard Marks QC said Lewis was an "extremely dangerous individual" as he jailed him for life with a minimum term of 40 years.

He told Lewis he had committed "as grave a murder as one can imagine".

He said: "You subjected your victim, a vulnerable middle-aged lady living alone, to an unimaginably dreadful ordeal."

Judge Marks said there was a sexual element to the murder, committed while Lewis was on the sex offenders register.

A massive hole resides in my heart for my mother and no amount of justice will mend that. Niall Galbally, son of murder victim Catherine Burke

Earlier, Ms Burke's son Niall Galbally made an emotional statement in a courtroom packed with family members.

The 22-year-old student said: "There are simply no amount of words that can describe the sheer devastation this has caused me and my family."

He said Lewis's "wicked and senseless act" had caused an "untold amount of pain".

He told how his relationship with his mother had been "blossoming" as she finally accepted he had become a man.

But he said: "The actions of this evil being has robbed that from us and it's something I will never get back.

"A massive hole resides in my heart for my mother and no amount of justice will mend that.

"I take great comfort in the fact the man responsible for such brutality has been caught."

As he left the witness box, Mr Galbally looked directly at Lewis in the dock.

Earlier, prosecutor Crispin Aylett QC outlined the history of the "brutal" killings of two lone women.

He said Lewis only admitted killing Ms Burke at the 11th hour because of the "overwhelming" evidence against him, including his DNA on a ligature he used to bind her.

The court heard Lewis got into the house by an unlocked back door.

2019-07-16_iri_51853671_I3.png
Kasim Lewis

Mr Aylett said Ms Burke's killer was a "brutal and perverted sadist", even though there was no signs she had been sexually assaulted.

Within hours of the murder, the convicted sex predator and burglar had trawled the internet for "granny sex" pornography.

The court heard he had pornographic images of women who had been bound and gagged.

On Christmas Eve, Lewis struck again when he attacked barmaid Ms Tudos as she made her way home through Finsbury Park, after a shift at the Worlds End pub in Camden.

As with Ms Burke, he stabbed Ms Tudos in the neck and abdomen, bound her wrists and ankles and stripped her naked, the court heard.

On St Stephen's Day, her concerned friends set out to retrace her journey and found her body in a disused cricket pavilion in the park.

Just over two hours after she entered the park, Ms Tudos's bank card was used to withdraw £100 from a cash machine in Tottenham Court Road.

Police identified the suspect from CCTV footage as Lewis.

COURTS Lew (4).jpg
Niall Galbally, the son of Catherine Burk. Photo: Jonathan Brady/PA Wire

Meanwhile, the defendant tried to lay a false trail by texting a friend: "How's everything today and have you watched the news... A woman's body was found yesterday. What's going on?"

When he was arrested for Ms Tudos's murder on New Year's Day, Lewis told an officer: "What do you want me to say? I did it."

As well as DNA linking Lewis to Ms Burke's murder, officers found he had stolen her mobile phone and given it to a friend.

The court heard the defendant had previous convictions of sexual assault, exposing himself on a bus and burglary dating back to 2005.

In mitigation, Jeremy Dean QC told of Lewis's "dreadful" upbringing which led him on a path of crime to feed his cannabis and cocaine addiction.

Lewis's 40-year sentence will run concurrently with his other life sentence.

Speaking outside court, Ms Burke's son told reporters the sentencing marked the end of a "horrendous" chapter in his life, and that of friends and family.

He said: "This whole ordeal has been nothing short of horrendous. I take great solace from the fact this man will never walk the street again."

He said there were "simply no words" to describe his feelings on hearing in court the details of how his mother died.

Paying tribute to his mother, Mr Galbally quoted lyrics from her favourite Dougie MacLean song, Caledonia, saying: "Let me tell you I love you and think about you all the time."

COURTS Lew (8).jpg
Niall Galbally (centre), the son of Catherine Burke who was murdered by Kasim Lewis, speaking outside the Old Bailey in London, with his father (left) and half brother (centre right, names not given). Photo: Jonathan Brady/PA Wire

Detective Chief Inspector Katherine Goodwin, of Scotland Yard, said: "We still do not know why Lewis committed this horrific murder, or the murder of Iuliana Tudos six weeks later.

"These appalling crimes have left two families bereaved. Catherine was a well respected and popular member of the local community."

She paid tribute to the senior investigator who quickly made the link between the two killings at an early stage, adding that cases such as Lewis's involving sexual violence were "thankfully extremely rare".

CPS prosecutor Sarah Dale said: "Lewis is a dangerous sexual predator who has now admitted to carrying out two extremely brutal and violent murders.

"He has left in his wake a trail of bereaved families and friends and our thoughts are with them.

"Faced with DNA and cell site evidence that clearly linked Lewis to the scene of Cathy Burke's murder, he pleaded guilty on the eve of his trial.

"This means that her family will not have to face the painful prospect of facing him in court.

"The sentence means that he won't be released for a very long time."

Online Editors

Editor's Choice

Also in Irish News