A Scottish court on Friday sentenced the son of a Nigerian diplomat to life imprisonment after raping and murdering a sex worker.
According to reports, 26-year-old Bala Chinda killed a Nigerian-born sex worker, Jessica McGraa, on 11 February 2016, a few weeks after he arrived the country to study at Robert Gordon University in Aberdeen.
McGraa’s partially clothed body was found the following day in the bedroom of a flat she had rented in the city’s Union Terrace.
Chinda denied the allegations, but CCTV footage showed that McGraa, 37, had travelled with her to his student accommodation in the city’s King Street in a taxi. They returned to her apartment a short time later, where she was found dead the following day.
The mother of one made her last call on her mobile phone a few minutes before surveillance cameras recorded Chinda walking down the street away from her flat.
The court heard that Miss McGraa died of asphyxiation and was “probably smothered with a pillow and possibly strangled with her scarf”.
The taxi driver taking Chinda and Miss McGraa back to her apartment had heard the two discussing money before she was killed on February 11.
Chinda changed his phone number after her death.
On Friday, a jury of eight women and seven men, after more than six hours, unanimously found Chinda guilty of murdering Miss McGraa.
They also found him guilty of raping the mother of one and stealing her two mobile phones in an attempt to defeat the ends of justice.
Chinda, whose father works as the immigration attaché at the Nigerian embassy in Beijing, wept uncontrollably after the guilty verdict.
Chinda was told he must serve a minimum of 18 years.
Lord Beckett praised the work the police had done to secure a conviction.
“You raped a woman and made her undergo sexual intercourse without the protection of a condom,” Scotland’s The Press and Journal quoted Lord Beckett as saying.
“You then murdered her, by smothering her with a pillow, and strangling her, probably using her scarf.
“You then sought to hide evidence which would link you to her.
“You might have got away with this but for the excellent police work which led to your detection, arrest and conviction.
“Your victim was the mother of a young child living in this country. She had hoped to marry.
“She had family in Nigeria who were supported by her to some extent and a brother in Hong Kong, all of whom will painfully feel their loss.
“She was much loved by her friends, two of whom gave evidence, and one of whom described her as being full of fun and life, a life which you ended when she was 37 and had much left to live for.”
Chinda was also placed on the sex offenders register for life.