Thug who murdered girlfriend on holiday in Peru convicted in UK landmark ruling

A murderer, who brutally strangled his girlfriend to death during a holiday, has been branded a “controlling bully” in a landmark UK ruling.

Jorge Garay’s trial took place in Maidstone Crown Court under a new domestic abuse law, even though the crime occurred 6,000 miles away in South America.

The jury found Garay to have strangled Karla Godoy from behind with a bungee cord in a fit of rage during a holiday to Peru.

He then wrapped her lifeless corpse in blue plastic sheeting and drove her four miles to his grandmother’s home in a province outside Lima, where he buried her in a shallow grave.

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The trial was noteworthy in the UK because it was the first to be held under the Domestic Abuse Act 2021, which gives courts in England and Wales the jurisdiction to prosecute cases involving offences committed abroad by individuals residing in the UK.

The prosecutor, Philip Bennetts KC, disclosed during the trial’s opening that Garay’s acts were motivated by jealously after learning that his fiancée planned to leave Peru to visit her daughter living with her ex-husband in Spain.

Tragically, she was discovered dead on September 23, 2022, just hours after her last talk with her aunt.

Her family reported her missing to the police after she missed her pre-booked flight to Madrid the same day.

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Despite friends and family’s tireless efforts to locate Karla, it wasn’t until October 12 that Jorge Garay allegedly confessed over the phone.

In his confession, he admitted to murdering Karla and claimed that he did so in self-defence after a disagreement with her.

Garay was caught in London two days later, on October 14, with the assistance of the Metropolitan Police Service.

Following the arrest, the Crown Prosecution Service granted investigators from the Kent and Essex Serious Crime Directorate permission to prosecute Garay with murder on October 16.

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Senior Investigating Officer, Detective Inspector, Lee Neiles, of the Kent and Essex Serious Crime Directorate said: “Karla Godoy’s life was violently cut short by a man she trusted during what was supposed to be a holiday for the couple. Garay’s actions not only ended her life but he tried to cover up his crimes by callously disposing of her body and hiding it in a makeshift grave.

“Karla leaves behind a young daughter who now faces growing up without her Mum and leaves a family without their daughter, sister and aunt.

“Despite Garay’s initial confession to Karla’s family, he pleaded not guilty and instead chose to put her family through the ordeal of a trial, where details were heard that no family should have to listen to.

“This was a complex case which involved working with international police forces, agencies and prosecuting authorities and I’m pleased we have been able to secure this conviction and I hope it offers some justice for Karla and her family.”

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