Man given life sentence for Little Venice suitcase murder of his girlfriend

Thomas Kocik has been given a life sentence

Thomas Kocik has been given a life sentence - Credit: Archant

An abusive boyfriend who murdered his girlfriend before stuffing her in a suitcase and dumping it in canal has been jailed for life today.

Tomasz Kocik, 38, had a history of violence towards 23-year-old Marta Ligman before he battered her in a jealous rage at their flat in Harlesden, north west London.

The Old Bailey heard Ms Ligman, who is just 5ft 2in, may still have been alive when he dumped the suitcase in the Grand Union Canal on May 1 this year.

The case containing her heavily bruised body was found floating near Little Venice after it collided with a houseboat on May 10.

Kocik, a Polish forklift truck driver, claimed that he found her lying dead on the sofa after a weekend orgy of drugs and sadomasochistic sex.

Today at the Old Bailey he was jailed for life with a minimum tariff of 18-and-a-half years.

He met Ms Ligman online in 2011 while she was still living with in Poland and she moved in with him six months later.

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The relationship soured and Kocik regularly physically and verbally abused Ms Ligman, covering up their fights by playing loud music.

He was so controlling that he picked her up from work at delicatessen Delicja Polish Deli every day.

On one occasion he even demanded her boss Levent Camlar show him CCTV footage to prove she has been to work, it is claimed.

Her colleagues and friends saw her with black eyes and facial bruising - which Kocik claimed were from sex while they were both high on amphetamines.

After he killed Ms Ligman he told his neighbour she had walked out on him and faked text and Facebook messages to her friends and family.

He also texted Mr Camlar to say: “I’m sorry, I have to go back to Poland. My mum’s sick.”

Devi Kharran, London reviewing lawyer for the Crown Prosecution Service, said: “Kocik was described as a very controlling and possessive boyfriend and Marta had confided in friends that he had beaten her in the past.

“Kocik only reported Marta missing on May 11, some time after he had last seen her and after stories in the media of a body found in the canal.

“Kocik continued to deny responsibility for Marta’s murder throughout the trial and told terrible lies to try and explain her death.

“His cruel and callous actions only caused further pain and suffering to a family already completely devastated by their loss.

“I would like to thank Marta’s family for their support of the prosecution, I hope that the sentence today can bring them some small comfort.”