A Hendon businessman known for his temper and controlling nature was this week jailed for murdering his pregnant wife.

Robert Ekaireb

Robert Ekaireb and Lihau Cao. Photo: Metropolitan Police/PA Wire.

Robert Ekaireb, 39, of Jewish Iraqi descent, will serve at least 22 years for killing his young wife in 2006, disposing of her body and carrying on with his life as if nothing had happened.

Despite her body never having been found, the jury found “overwhelming evidence” that Ekaireb murdered 27-year old Lihau Cao during an argument.

“We will never know how Lihau died or what happened to her body,” said Detective Inspector Andy Manning. “This is a tragedy for her family and her unborn child.”

However, he said it was “satisfying” to finally see a conviction seven years after the disappearance of Lihau, who was four months pregnant.

Ekaireb, who owned over 50 properties worth £65million, was controlling and suspicious, booking lie detector tests for Lihau and restricting her access to money.

She told friends she was unhappy in the relationship and that she was preparing to leave Ekeireb, but disappeared following a confrontation on 23 October 2006, during which witnesses heard a woman screaming.

The jury then heard that a security guard spotted Ekeireb carrying a rolled up carpet from his flat later that night.