A Polish cleaner has been jailed for 20 years today for murdering her elderly employer and going on a shopping spree with the widow's bank cards.
It took Jolanta Kalinowsica just a week to empty 94-year-old Thea Zaudy's bank account of 10,000 pounds after she strangled her.
Kalinowsica attacked the “frail” pensioner in her home, stamping on her body as she lay on the floor.
With the help of her son Adrian Ryszard Lis, Kalinowsica, 41, then stuffed her Jewish employer's body into a suitcase and disposed of it in July last year.
Mrs Zaudy fled to Britain with her husband during the Second World War to escape Nazi Germany and the Holocaust.
The couple had no children and after her husband's death Mrs Zaudy was left with no close family.
But she maintained a close circle of friends and, despite her age, lived independently in a flat in Notting Hill.
Before her husband's death, the couple ran a carpet shop and Oxford Crown Court heard that Mrs Zaudy was "very comfortably well-off".
Police believe that Mrs Zaudy discovered Kalinowsica stealing money from the large stash of cash she kept in the house and a confrontation ensued.
Kalinowsica, Lis and his unwitting girlfriend, Monilca Sienkiewicz, took the suitcase on a London Underground train before being driven to Milton Common near Oxford, where they dumped the body in a field and set light to it.
A jury today found Kalinowsica, from Cavendish Avenue, Ealing, west London, guilty of murdering Mrs Zaudy.
Lis, 23, of the same address, was found guilty of assisting an offender in the disposal of a body.
Miss Sienkiewicz, 19, of the same address, was cleared of assisting an offender by removing evidence and by the removal of a body.
Lukasz Gadja, 25, also from Ealing, was also cleared of assisting an offender by removing a body.
Mrs Zaudy's charred remains were found in a field the day after Kalinowsica and Lis dumped it.
Police initially issued an appeal for help in identifying the body, which was obviously that of an elderly woman.
But it was not until Mrs Zaudy's worried bridge partners reported her missing that officers could put the pieces together.
The pensioner had been strangled in her own flat and kicked and stamped on as she lay on the floor.
After the killing, Kalinowsica bought cleaning products with Mrs Zaudy's own cash cards and scrubbed the flat clean of all traces.
During the three-and-a-half-week trial, the jury saw CCTV footage of Kalinowsica and Lis, accompanied by Miss Sienkiewicz, lugging a heavy suitcase away from Mrs Zaudy's flat.
But the jury heard that Miss Sienkiewicz had no idea of what the suitcase really contained and thought they were helping Kalinowsica carry wet blankets home to dry.
The trio took a Tube train to Ealing Broadway, where they met Mr Gadja, who was waiting to collect them in his car.
He had been told that Kalinowsica had been "paid good money" to destroy some documents and thought that the suitcase contained these papers.
Miss Sienkiewicz went home none the wiser about what her boyfriend and his mother were doing and the remaining three drove down the M40 to Oxfordshire.
Kalinowsica, who denied the charges against her, told the court that before her death Mrs Zaudy had built up a large debt while playing bridge.
She said the elderly woman demanded to borrow ?10,000 from her cleaner to pay the debt.
In return, she said, Mrs Zaudy allowed her to use her bank cards to recoup the borrowed money.
But the jury rejected her explanation and Judge Hall sentenced her today to life in prison with a minimum term of 20 years.
He said: “The jury have convicted you on overwhelming evidence of the murder of Thea Zaudy. She was a defenceless, frail, elderly lady who was otherwise very much on the ball.
"Having killed her, you went out and spent all her money in a spree of spending.
“The killing was utterly callous and thereafter you have been devious and manipulative in the way you got other people to help you.”
Sentencing Lis to four years, half of which will be served on parole, Judge Hall said: “I have no doubt that your mother was the driving force behind this terrible catalogue of events.
“You are no angel but I'm not sure how much of a devil you are. I think you were drawn into this by your mother.”