Police arrested a man in connection with the murder of Norma Girolami from Highgate

Police arrested a man in connection with the murder of Norma Girolami from Highgate

A man has been convicted of the murder of Norma Girolami whose remains were found buried in a north London cemetery.

Serkan Kaygusuz, 42 (06.04.80), of Sparsholt Road, Islington appeared at the Old Bailey on Tuesday, 21 February, where, following trial, he was convicted of murder. The jury took just 29 minutes to consider their verdict.

Kaygusuz was remanded to appear at the same court for sentencing on Wednesday, 22 February.

During the trial the court heard how 70-year-old Norma Girolami was last seen in mid-August 2021.

She was initially reported missing by a friend on 13 September 2021. Police visited her home, where everything appeared to be in order.

Text messages were received from Norma’s phone number saying she was away on holiday. However, Norma’s relatives quickly realised that these messages were not from Norma. The texts were sent from Norma’s phone by Kaygusuz, whose first language was Turkish. They were littered with grammatical errors and pet names were used incorrectly.

On 20 September 2021, military police were notified that Norma was missing. They investigated and on October 12th, she was officially pronounced dead.

Norma lived in the Highgate area and regularly travelled to Brent Cross to do her shopping using public transport to make her way there. She was also a member at Archway Leisure Centre where she had met the defendant. They had become friends and a relationship had developed, but it took a sinister turn when unemployed, Kaygusuz, began asking for money.

In August 2021, Norma confided in a close friend that she had given more than £200,000 to Kaygusuz. She did not want to give any more money to him but he was constantly asking for more from her. Even though her funds were depleted and she could no longer afford anything else, Norma continued to give as much as he wanted.

We know that on 19 August 2021, Norma had been on a day trip to Leigh-on-Sea, Essex. When she returned home, Kaygusuz visited her in the evening, which was a very uncommon occurrence, and he killed her.

He wrapped her body in a bed sheet and, using items he brought with him, he wrapped Norma in large black plastic waste sacks from ‘Homes for Islington’ before securing the bags with black duct tape.

He took Norma’s body to a churchyard where he buried her in a makeshift grave.

Kayusuz was arrested on October 1, 2021, but released amid allegations of fraud and false imprisonment. Later that month, Kayusuz was arrested again for murder. He was charged on October 4, 2021 with murder, two counts of theft and remanded in custody. He remained behind bars throughout the investigation

During their investigation, detectives discovered that the defendant had bought items online that included two “spading” forks, six ground stabilisers, overshoes, duct tape, a shovel, long rubber gloves, a large bucket, and forensic style overalls. He also purchased restraint items including handcuffs, a ball gag with wrist restraints and paracord.

Detective Chief Inspector Blackburn added:

“My team has remained determined during this investigation for more than a year and a half, they searched diligently until they found Norma and relentlessly pursued the truth of what happened to her. I am incredibly proud that we have been able to return Norma to her family and to witness to the jury find her killer guilty.”

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