Man sentenced to life for London rape, murder

A Latvian man convicted in the rape and murder of a 17-year-old girl in suburban London will spend the rest of his life in a United Kingdom prison.

Viktor Dembovskis, 43, was found guilty March 29 in London’s Central Criminal Court of the May 2005 rape and murder of Jeshma Raithatha, described in British media as a promising and talented student.

Raithatha, who disappeared May 16 after a day of shopping, was found dead in a wooded area of west London. Suspicion soon fell on Dembovskis, who lived nearby and worked in a local car wash. Dembovskis fled to Latvia and his hometown of Līvāni, from which he was extradited to Britain.

Dembovskis was charged with one count of murder and two counts of rape. A jury took three hours to arrive at its verdict, according to British media reports. Dembovskis was sentenced to three life terms.

Following the sentencing, Raithatha’s family issued a statement in which it questioned how Dembovskis, who twice has been convicted of rape in Latvia, was allowed to immigrate to the United Kingdom.

Andris Straumanis is a special correspondent for and a co-founder of Latvians Online. From 2000–2012 he was editor of the website.

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