murder

Crime scene: Rivka Holden’s Colindale home.

Matei Clej reports for Jewish News from the Old Bailey  The murderer of Israeli-born Rivka Holden has been jailed for a minimum 25 year term at the Old Bailey. Holden was killed in her Colindale home earlier this year by Nicolae Patraucean.

The 21-year-old was sentenced to life in prison at the Old Bailey on Wednesday, with Judge Timothy Pontius QC ruling that Patraucean will serve a minim of 25 years before becoming eligible for parole. The severe sentence was due to the ‘extent, manner and ferocity of the attack’ on the victim.

The Romanian national of Stanmore had entered a plea of guilty to Ms Holden’s murder on 5 June. He had, however, denied having a full recollection the incident, being “heavily intoxicated” at the time.

Timothy Cray, prosecuting, described how on the day in question, Patraucean had purchased herbal cannabis in celebration of being issued a National Insurance number. 

After consuming whiskey, beer, cannabis and two grams of  cocaine, he met Ms Holden. She had worked as a prostitute, and they met the first time later that night in Burnt Oak before returning to her flat.

Patraucean alleged that he had lost his temper after accusing Ms Holden of stealing money from him. In a sustained attack, he then beat and strangled her before slitting her throat and leaving the flat in her car. 

Police attended the address in Falcon Way after being called at around 12.20pm. Ms Holden was pronounced dead at the scene. 

Patraucean admitted the murder later that evening in a phonecall to a friend, whom he told ‘I killed a person… not a person, a whore’. He attempted to dispose of the Ms Holden’s Hyundai and was later apprehended at the scene.

The Court heard forensic pathologist Dr Ashley Fegan-Earl describe injuries consistent with a ‘ferocious attack with a bladed object’, blunt force trauma and strangulation. Ms Holden had also suffered extensive lacerations to her hands trying to defend herself from repeated attacks with a blade. 

Cross-examination by the prosecution revealed that Patraucean was unable to offer a motive for his actions, stating that he simply lost his temper in his intoxicated state. He expressed some remorse towards the victim’s family.

Judge Pontius rejected Patraucean’s plea of diminished responsibility due to intoxication and sentenced Patraucean on the basis that he was fully aware at the time of the attack. 

In issuing sentence, Judge Pontius cited statements from Rivka Holden’s family which paid tribute to a ‘much loved daughter, sister and mum’  The family of Rivka Holden, who were in attendance, did not wish to comment.