Friday 23 February 2018

Convicted Irish rapist gets life sentence for killing neighbour

Irish-born James Citro
Irish-born James Citro

A CONVICTED rapist who killed a neighbour and tried to blame "two black men" was jailed for life today.

Irish-born James Citro, 54, was found guilty in October of murdering 44-year-old hotel worker Nijole Siskeviciene, 13 years ago.

Citro, who changed his name from Kennedy, had been convicted of two rapes involving attempted strangulation in Ireland 33 years ago.

When police stopped him for drink-driving in July last year, his DNA was taken and matched to the October 1998 murder.

Citro, 54, originally from Nenagh Co Tipperary, admitted two offences of perverting justice by writing two anonymous letters to police after the murder.

He was jailed for life at the Old Bailey and given a minimum term of 20 years.

Judge David Paget told him: "This case is the third time you have admitted to strangling your victim in a sexual context.

"By lying you have escaped justice for 13 years.

"I have no doubt you are a very dangerous man."

Citro, who is now in a wheelchair, was wheeled out of the dock to the cells by a prison officer.

Philip Bennetts QC, prosecuting, told the trial that Miss Siskeviciene was strangled with a ligature and her body propped up in a sitting position outside garages at the back of her home in Wembley, north London.

Citro had been living nearby and during house-to-house inquiries, he told police he did not know her.

A week later, two letters were sent to police. One said "two dark men" were seen with the body. The other claimed to be from an elderly person and said: "A girl was carried out from a house by two black men."

Detectives regarded the letters as "credible and genuine" evidence. Appeals were made for the "vital witnesses" to come forwarded.

The victim worked in the hotel trade and had two grown-up sons. She had just moved into the street where she died.

Citro, was convicted of two rapes in the same area of Ireland in 1978 in which the victims were held or throttled around the neck. He was jailed for 10 years.

Judge Paget commended one of the victims, who thought she was going be killed and her body thrown into a lake, and a garda officer for giving evidence in the murder trial.

Detectives believe Citro attacked other women and are appealing for any victims of assaults to come forward.

Detective Superintendent Keith Niven said: "I would now like to appeal to anyone who has been previously subjected to assault by Citro to come forward.

"I can assure you that you will be treated with the utmost respect and sensitivity and your information will be dealt with in the strictest confidence."

Citro changed his name by deed poll in 2003.

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