Family share sense of loss as brutal killer gets life

The family of Marina Koppel, who was brutally murdered 30 years ago, have issued heartfelt statements about their sense of loss and grief – even after all these years. 

The killer, Sandip Patel, who was found guilty of stabbing her 140 times in a flat in Marylebone but evaded justice until now, was handed a life sentence at the Old Bailey on Friday. 

Mrs Koppel’s son, Javier Rios, said: “It is not easy for me to relive the saddest moment of my life after 29 years. 

“I am convinced that my mum had a lot of life to live still. It was not her time and this is very painful – it tears my very soul. 

“I hope to be able to close this chapter and to remember my mother how she was – the best mother in the world.” 

Mrs Koppel’s sister-in-law and brother-in-law, Mary and Martin Koppel, described her as an “extremely bright, highly intelligent and charismatic person, who saw good in her family and all people she met”, adding she was “much loved by all of us”. 

“Her family and friends would have been in a much better place because of her abundance of energy for life, had she not died,” they said. 

“We have all suffered these many, many years because we lost Marina so early in life.” 

Martin Koppel added that his brother had suffered “an increasingly rapid decline” following the murder, adding “the day Marina was murdered, I lost my brother”.

Marina Koppel, 39, was found dead by her husband in August 1994. 

Patel became a suspect in 2022 after his footprint and DNA was matched to a hair from the scene. 

Mr Justice Cavanagh sentenced him to a minimum 19-year jail term, using guidelines that were in place when the crime occurred in 1994. 

He said aggravating factors included the gratuitous and sustained violence, the vulnerability of Mrs Koppel and a lack of remorse. 

Sentencing Patel, the judge added: “The terror and pain that you inflicted on Mrs Koppel is difficult to imagine. You deprived [her] of many more years of life. 

“No sentence that I pass can compensate the family of Mrs Koppel for their loss.” 

Weeping could be heard in the public gallery after the sentence was handed down. 

Pictured top: Marina Koppel (Picture: The Met) 

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