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Last Updated: Friday, 23 January, 2004, 18:34 GMT
Russian student cleared of murder
Oxana Rodionova
Oxana Rodionova was found dead at her flat
A Russian student has been cleared of strangling a prostitute at the woman's flat in north-west London.

Sergey Shcherbakov, 21, denied any part in Oxana Rodionova's murder in Little Venice on 8 March last year.

But he admitted conspiring to burgle the flat she shared with two other Russian women and was jailed or three years.

Miss Rodionova died from "asphyxiation as a result of compression to the neck", the Old Bailey was told.

On the evening of her murder, she had refused an invitation to go to a bar along with her flatmates and instead nursed a hangover from the previous night in front of the television, prosecutor Ann Curnow QC told the court.

Face 'unrecognisable'

When the others returned "they found her lifeless body in the living room.

"Her face was severely bruised and swollen so it was hard to recognise her."

The prosecution alleged one of two Marigold gloves discovered near some items stolen from the flat had the palm print of Mr Shcherbakov.

But Mr Scherbakov was said to have told police that it was a Ukrainian man with whom he went to rob the flat who murdered Miss Rodionova.

He explained he was upstairs at the time and when he went down he saw the young woman was dead.

The jury heard that Miss Rodionova had come to London in September 2002 to study English and enrolled at a school.

But she never attended and instead registered with an escort agency.



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