28 July 2023

Man who strangled and buried partner on holiday in Peru jailed for life

28 July 2023

A man who strangled and buried his partner while on holiday in Peru has been jailed for life.

Jorge Garay killed 37-year-old mother-of-one Karla Godoy before he wrapped her body in a tarpaulin and dumped her in a makeshift grave on land owned by his family in Lima.

Garay, 46, of Hythe Street, Dartford, will serve a minimum of 17 years behind bars after being convicted at Maidstone Crown Court earlier this month, Kent Police said.

The couple had left the UK on September 15 2022 and travelled to Peru via Spain, the court heard.

Ms Godoy’s family, who live in Honduras and Spain, last heard from her on September 23 2022, when she told them she planned to travel back to Spain the following day but never arrived.

After efforts to contact her failed, Ms Godoy’s worried relatives contacted the police in both Spain and Peru.

Kent Police said Garay returned to the UK alone on October 4.

He told his landlord that Ms Godoy had stayed in Spain while he went to Peru and also claimed he had been robbed of his money and ID while away.

Garay then emptied the flat the couple had rented in Dartford and handed his keys back before he left the area.

On October 12, as Ms Godoy’s family and friends searched for her, Garay was reported to have made a confession via a telephone conversation in which he admitted to murder.

Kent Police said he claimed they had argued and he had acted in self-defence.

Ms Godoy’s body was found by Peruvian authorities in a garden on the same day, she had been strangled and was identified through fingerprint records.

Garay was arrested in London on October 14 and charged with murder two days later. His sentencing took place on Friday.

Kent Police used powers under the Domestic Abuse Act 2021, which allow officers to prosecute a person who lives in the UK but has committed a violent offence in another country.

It is thought to be the first time the law has been used in the UK for a murder case, the force said.

Detective Inspector Lee Neiles, of the Kent and Essex Serious Crime Directorate said: “Today’s sentencing will not bring back Karla, but I hope it provides her family with some form of closure and justice.

“Karla trusted Garay but he committed the ultimate betrayal and took away her life, leaving her daughter without a mum and her family without their daughter, sister and aunt.”

The officer added: “Karla’s family has been left mourning her needless loss and I can only hope that now the case has concluded that her family and friends can find some closure.”

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