Page last updated at 19:33 GMT, Monday, 26 January 2009

Builder guilty of nurse's murder

Tian Chen
Traces of Chen's DNA were found at Miss Ngan's home

A builder has been convicted of the murder of a nurse he strangled with her own blouse during a burglary.

Mei Choo Ngan, 54, who worked at Moorfields Eye Hospital, was found dead at her home in Palmers Green, north London, in July 2007.

She had hired Tian Chen, 33, to carry out work on her home but instead he broke into the property and throttled her, the Old Bailey heard.

Chen, of Lordship Lane, Edmonton, north London, will be sentenced on Tuesday.

'Senseless killing'

Jurors heard how Chen, who denied murder, hit his victim on the head then dragged her, bleeding, from one bedroom to another.

He also tried to set fire to her body.

Chen cut off the bloodstained bottom legs and pockets of his trousers and left them at the scene in a bizarre attempt to avoid detection, the court heard.

Mei Choo Ngan
Miss Ngan's murder has left a "vacuum", said relatives

But traces of his DNA were found on the clothing fragments, as well as on a cigarette butt left in the bedroom.

It was not the first time he had tried to steal from a house where he had been doing building work, jurors were told. He pleaded guilty to an attempted burglary in Reading in 2002.

Chen, who like his victim was originally from Malaysia, was in the UK illegally.

In a statement read to the court, Ho Kin Wing described his cousin as a dedicated nurse whose death had left a "vacuum".

He added: "The senseless killing of Mei has left me and my family in shock.

"Mei's life was so heartlessly cut short and taken from us during the time we all talked about her retirement.

"Society has unceremoniously lost an upright and moral member."

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