'Stuntman' who strangled film producer ex and buried body in shallow grave jailed for life
4 October 2019, 15:20 | Updated: 4 October 2019, 15:48
A self-proclaimed stuntman who said he worked as Brad Pitt's double has been jailed for life for the murder of his film-producer ex-girlfriend.
Kirill Belorusov, 32, strangled Laureline Garcia-Bertaux, 34, to death before burying her body in a shallow grave in her garden.
He has been ordered to serve a minimum if 24 years before being eligible for parole.
Shortly after the killing, Belorusov was caught on CCTV shopping for an axe and rubble sacks to dispose of her body.
Ms Garcia-Bertaux was found naked, bound and wrapped in bin bags in a flower bed in her garden in Kew, south-west London, a day after friends reported her missing on March 5.
The court was told Belorusov travelled from Estonia to London in March on the pretext of helping his ex-partner move home, after lying about finding her a new flat.
After killing her, he sent text messages from Ms Garcia-Bertaux's phone to her friends saying she was planning a "boob job" or "lypo" and expressing her delight at her new fictitious home.
One message said: "I went to see the house it's BEAUTIFUL! And Kirill gave me another £7,000 so I'm going on a shopping spree... And he transferred another £10,000 a week ago... And he left...Housewarming party is coming real soon...So hot tub and boob lift."
Belorusov denied murder but it took a jury only two hours to find him guilty following a trial at the Old Bailey.
Ms Garcia-Bertaux was a successful film producer in the television and film industry and had worked with Dame Joan Collins on the 2018 short film Gerry.
Belorusov worked in bars and nightclubs but claimed to have been a stuntman and a casino bodyguard for high rollers.
One of the films he claimed to have worked on was Hollywood blockbuster World War Z, starring Brad Pitt, but the online IMDb film database listing, which included 148 people under the heading "stunts", does not feature his name.
The court heard he met Ms Garcia-Bertaux in 2009, but the couple split up in 2017, after she complained that he was a "slob" and would "needle her about her weight".
In November last year she begged him to give her the money in a text message which said: "I don't think you realise how bad the situation is! I can barely pay my rent this month and food for myself and the dogs!"
Prosecutor Oliver Glasgow QC said: "The last few minutes of Ms Garcia-Bertaux's life must have been truly terrifying as this defendant squeezed the very life out of her, and as she struggled for her final breath, there must have been a moment of terrible clarity when she realised that the man she cared for was a liar, a cheat and a killer."