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Suitcase woman 'could have been alive' when thrown into canal

Published 02/11/2015

Tomasz Kocik is on trial at the Old Bailey
Tomasz Kocik is on trial at the Old Bailey

A young woman might still have been alive when she was stuffed into a suitcase and thrown into a city canal, a court heard.

The body of Marta Ligman, 23, was found in the case floating in the Grand Union Canal in Little Venice in north west London, 10 days after it had been dumped.

Prosecutor Tim Cray said the victim, a delicatessen shop assistant, had been badly beaten.

She suffered bruising all over her body and broken ribs and was either "dead or dying" by the time she was dumped in the water.

He said: "Those injuries are consistent with her having been attacked and badly beaten.

"If the initial attack had not killed her outright, the fact that she was then zipped into a suitcase and left inside would also have proved fatal because of the effects of being left in such a constricted space."

Her boyfriend Tomasz Kocik, a Polish national, of Buckingham Road, Harlesden, is on trial at the Old Bailey accused of her murder between April 28 and May 10 this year.

On Friday May 1, Kocik, 38, was caught on CCTV dragging a large dark suitcase half a mile from his home to the canal towpath early in the morning before returning home with wet trousers over an hour later, jurors were told.

The trunk was "extremely heavy" and he appeared to be struggling to move it as he made his way through the streets of North West London, the court heard.

Some 24 hours after the discovery of her body, police identified her as being the girlfriend of Kocik.

The couple had met online in a dating chatroom while Miss Ligman was living with her family in Poland.

She travelled to London to live with the defendant in 2012 but by the time of her death, the relationship had soured.

Mr Cray told jurors that Miss Ligman's colleagues described Kocik as an "obsessively jealous controlling boyfriend" who was violent towards her.

"For example they saw her with unexplained injuries such as black eyes and facial bruising. In addition he would wait for her every day outside work and get angry if he didn't know where she was."

The prosecutor said that her Polish identity card and bank card had been found burned and cut up by a member of public along the route that Kocik had made when he disposed of her body in the canal.

He then failed to report her missing until after the body was discovered on May 10 and had been all over the news, the court heard.

Meanwhile, her friends and family in Poland had been "very worried" they had not heard from her and kept asking him to go to the police.

Kocik denies murder.

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