March 10 2014 Latest news:
by Tim Lamden
Thursday, January 9, 2014
The brother of a woman murdered by her millionaire husband at their luxury Hampstead flat has described the devastation her death has caused their family back in China.
Li Bin Cao travelled to London from his home in Denmark for the sentencing of property developer Robert Ekaireb, 39, on Tuesday, when a victim impact statement was read to court informing judge Nicholas Cooke QC of the toll his sister’s death has taken on their family.
Ekaireb was jailed for a minimum of 22 years for the murder of pregnant Lihua Cao, 27, in their flat in Pavilion Court on the gated Mount Vernon estate, in Frognal Rise, Hampstead, after months of jealousy and paranoia about her past as a lapdancer.
Ms Cao’s body has not been found despite an exhaustive seven-year police investigation.
Her brother wrote: “It is hard to sleep and when we do we are haunted by nightmares. The [murder] of a loved one is devastating for any family.
“However, the years of uncertainty, never knowing the truth, fearing the worst, the sleepless nights [and] the nightmares have made things even worse.”
Mr Cao said his mother had been left “isolated” and unable to even leave her bed for long periods as a result of the murder, while his father had been rendered “absent-minded and incoherent” by the trauma.
He said the family have not even told Ms Cao’s grandfather in China about her disappearance for fear the stress would kill him.
Mr Cao also revealed a chilling conversation he had with Ekaireb around the time of his sister’s disappearance.
He wrote: “After failing to reach my sister on her own phone, I called Mr Ekaireb countless times and when he finally answered he pretended to be somebody else. He said he had never heard of Lihua.
“After this phone call, and Mr Ekaireb’s strange behaviour, I was terrified and understood that something was very wrong.”