Page last updated at 05:22 GMT, Friday, 15 May 2009 06:22 UK

Man jailed for 'barbaric' murder

Cara Burke
Miss Burke's remains were returned to London in September last year

A Brazilian man who killed and dismembered a 17-year-old girl from London before dumping her torso in a suitcase has been jailed for 21 years.

Mohamed D'Ali Carvalho Santos, 21, admitted stabbing to death Cara Burke, from Southfields, in July 2008 after they argued about his heavy drug use.

The torso of Miss Burke, who he had met in London, was found in a suitcase near the Brazilian city of Goiania.

Prosecutors at the hearing in Goiania described the crime as "barbaric".

Miss Burke had travelled to Brazil after meeting Santos in her home city.

Santos said he had been smoking crack cocaine for four days when the teenager threatened to tell his mother he was spending all his money on drugs unless he gave her an unspecified amount of cash.

The two were apparently not a couple.

Santos said he started stabbing Miss Burke with a knife while she grabbed at the blade.

"I don't remember where I stabbed," Santos said. "I kept on stabbing away, not knowing where, and when I saw what I had done, she was dead."

Dumped near rivers

Santos said he then took a bath and went to an all-night party. On the way home, he stopped at a supermarket and bought a larger knife so he could cut up Miss Burke's body.

He said he disposed of the remains near two rivers in Goiania.

Judge Jessair Coelho de Alcantara sentenced him to 19 years for the killing and two more for hiding the body.

Santos' defence lawyer Carlos Trajano said a psychiatric evaluation showed he was not "fully responsible for his acts because he was taking drugs non-stop during the three days prior to the killing".

But prosecutor Milton Marcolino had called for the maximum 30-year sentence penalty.

He said Santos "was perfectly aware of what he was doing and of the consequences of his acts, despite all the drugs he took".

After Miss Burke's torso was found in a suitcase, police spent the following days searching for the teenager's head, arms and legs. They recovered the last part of her body in a river on 6 August.

She was identified by her family after pictures of a distinctive tattoo on her stomach were aired on a Brazilian news channel.

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