Page last updated at 12:27 GMT, Tuesday, 30 September 2008 13:27 UK

Sacked man throttled ex-colleague

Catherine Marlow

A man has been jailed for life for murdering a former work colleague after breaking into her office.

Cathy Marlow, 28, was strangled with her own scarf and dumped in a shower cubicle at the market research firm in Kennington, south London, last January.

She had found Matthew Fagan, 33, and an accomplice stealing computer equipment, his trial at the Old Bailey heard.

Fagan, earlier sacked from the firm she worked for, was told he would serve a minimum of 26 years in jail.

The married American national had been sacked by the company, Research Now, nine months earlier for incompetence, the court heard.

DNA match

Fagan, of Elephant and Castle, south London, admitted going into the office and stealing six laptop computers on 13 January 2007, the day of the killing, but denied murdering his former colleague.

Miss Marlow, a finance manager, had gone in on a Saturday as she wanted to get on top of her workload after recently returning from holiday.

Fagan told the court that Miss Marlow, a New Zealand national, had recognised him and started shouting.

Sacked man throttled ex-colleague

He beat her over the head with a blunt instrument and strangled her with her scarf.

Fagan denied this in court, claiming that Miss Marlow was tied up after a struggle.

He left her alive with his accomplice as he left the building, Fagan told the court.

Sentencing, Judge Brian Barker told Fagan: "Against a man of your size and strength she would have stood no chance."

Fagan was caught after detectives matched his profile to DNA found under Miss Marlow's fingernails.

Outside court Miss Marlow's father Bernie said the verdict would bring "some closure in seeing that justice has been done".

"However it won't bring our Cathy back," he added. "She lives in our hearts and minds every day.

"We lost our Cathy - she has gone forever. That will never change."


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