A bodybuilder strangled and battered his transgender escort wife to death, then robbed her and visited a brothel.
Yesterday, at the Old Bailey Court in London, Joaquin Gomez Hernandez, 24, was found guilty of murdering his wife Vanessa Santillan, 33, and sentenced to life imprisonment with a minimum of 14-and-a-half years before parole.
The jurors were told that the victim worked as a high-end prostitute in London after moving from her native Mexico with her husband in January 2014.
She maintained a personal website where she was openly transgender and wrote about trips she’d taken around the world with her clients.
The court heard that unemployed Gomez-Hernandez was a jealous man and resented having to rely on Ms Santillan for money since their arrival in the UK.
On the night before the murder, the pair had been out drinking with friends before returning to a flat in Fulham.
The next morning, 28 March, at approximately 5am, Ms Santillan was contacted via thebackpage.com by a male client.
Arriving at around 6am, the client went to the bedroom with Ms Santillan while her friends and husband remained in the lounge, the court heard.
As she entertained the client, her husband stormed in.
He accused Ms Santillan of not taking him seriously before fleeing their apartment in a rage.
Later, when he returned to the flat, he brutally beat and strangled his wife, inflicting her with fatal head and neck injuries.
While his wife lay dead on the floor, he stole £400 from her. Then he left her body on the floor, naked from the waist down, and spent the money paying for two prostitutes at a nearby brothel.
The court heard, he later pretended to find her body, dialled 999 and flagged down an ambulance outside her flat.
Paramedics found Ms Santillan lying half-naked on the floor in the lounge next to a used condom and broken false fingernails. She was pronounced dead at the scene.
Gomez-Hernandez suggested to police that one of her clients had killed her.
On 14 May Joaquin Gomez-Hernandez was arrested and charged with her murder.
He denied murder but on Tuesday 20 October jurors at the Old Bailey unanimously convicted Gomez-Hernandez of murder.
Sentencing him to life imprisonment, Judge Richard Marks QC said: ‘You and you alone know what happened that afternoon that caused you to lose your temper and attack her.’
‘I am satisfied that jealousy on your part must have played a role in all of this. You left her naked from the waist down and you made no attempt to summon any medical or other assistance’ the judge said.
An impact statement from Ms Santillan’s family said: “This loss cannot be remedied or changed. It is something that has greatly affected us and hurts a lot.
“Our family will never be the same again without Vanessa. We cannot stop thinking how unjust her death was.”
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