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Home ยป DNA Breakthrough Sees Pensioner Convicted Of Sex Worker Killing Almost 50 Years Later

DNA Breakthrough Sees Pensioner Convicted Of Sex Worker Killing Almost 50 Years Later

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A man has been convicted of murdering a woman nearly half a century ago following a DNA breakthrough.

John Apelgren hit sex worker Eileen Cotter in the face, strangled her and threw her body out of his car in Islington, north London, in 1974.

After interviewing 92 potential suspects at the time, the case went cold until DNA was found on Ms Cotter’s body in 2012.

Then, in 2019, there was a breakthrough when police took Apelgren’s DNA after he attacked his third wife – the sample was a match.

His ex-wife Anne also revealed she had been mistreated and that Apelgren had once grabbed her neck with both hands.

She told police she believed he was cheating just months after their 1972 marriage and later found out he was sleeping with her brother’s wife.

Ex-cab driver Apelgren, from Sydenham in south London, declined to give evidence at his Old Bailey trial.

However, after 11 hours of deliberations the jury found him guilty of manslaughter and indecent assault – but not guilty of murder.

Image: Apelgren strangled and beat Eileen Cotter and pushed her body out of his car The court heard he was seen on the night of the killing at a Finsbury Park hotdog stall where Ms Cotter would often go.

The 22-year-old woman was later found near some garages, semi-naked with a black eye and bruising, and her underwear and tights had been pulled down.

A post-mortem examination found she died of strangulation.

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Prosecutor Alexandra Healy KC told the Old Bailey that Apelgren had sex with Ms Cotter before attacking and strangling her.

“Having killed her, he pushed her out of his car. Her body was discovered in the position it fell, without shoes, and with her tights and underwear still around her right leg.”

The trial also heard that the killing came two years after Apelgren allegedly indecently assaulted an 18-year-old guest at his own wedding.

Sentencing will take place at a later date.