A man who murdered a woman and kidnapped two others within the space of just four hours has been convicted following a trial at the Old Bailey.

Brian Sengendo, 27 (05.01.95) of Gilbert Street, EN3 was found guilty on Thursday, 20 January of multiple charges including two counts of kidnap, one count of rape and the murder of 44-year-old Therasia Gordon, a sex worker from Edmonton.

Sengendo will be sentenced at the same court on 18 March.

Detective Chief Inspector Neil John, who led the investigation, said: “Therasia’s murder has had a devastating impact on her family, not least her mum Jan. Not only has she had to cope with the pain of losing her daughter, but she has also had to relive the events of that night thanks to Sengendo’s refusal to take responsibility for his actions. She has shown the utmost dignity in coming to court every day and we hope she has some small comfort knowing that her daughter’s killer will spend most of his life behind bars.

“We must not forget the other women who suffered at Sengendo’s hands. They too have spoken about the lasting effect that night has had on them. We commend their bravery in speaking to us and providing the evidence which was crucial to his conviction.”

In the early hours of Thursday, 4 August 2020, police received a phone call from a resident of Grove Street, N18. He said he had heard a woman shouting “help” and looked out of his window to see a white van parked in the alleyway and a young black man striking at someone or something through the door of the vehicle.

Officers quickly attended the location and found a discarded grey shirt as well as a large pool of blood and a mobile phone. A search of nearby gardens also led to the discovery of two bloodstained knives.

The phone was quickly examined by detectives who found that it belonged to a woman called Therasia Gordon. Enquiries were made as to her whereabouts but she could not be found and she was declared as a high-risk missing person.

The witness had also been able to provide police with the van’s partial registration number. Using ANPR, officers identified that the van had been cruising around the Enfield area that evening. Although DVLA records did not have details of the current owner, police records showed that a couple of weeks earlier it had been reported as abandoned in Gilbert Street, EN3.

Officers travelled to the location where they recovered doorbell footage showing that on 15 July, a slim, young black man got into the van and drove it away. Their fast-time enquiries meant that just hours after the first offence had been reported, detectives had an image of their main suspect and had circulated this via police systems in an attempt to identify him.

On Thursday, 6 August, as work continued to trace Therasia and the suspect, police received a call from a cyclist who said he had found a woman’s body on Burnt Farm Ride, Enfield.

Officers attended and the woman, who was pronounced dead at the scene, was identified as Therasia Gordon. Footage from a nearby camera also showed that the white van they were looking for had been in that area days earlier.

Further enquiries led police to another woman who said she too had been kidnapped by a man just hours before Therasia had gone missing. She managed to escape by jumping out of the van but was able to tell officers that his name was ‘Brian’, as well as passing on a number he had given her.

Crucially, this number led officers to Sengendo and showed that he had recently moved to Princes Avenue, N10.

Police attended the address and in the early hours of Friday, 7 August, Sengendo was seen leaving a property and getting into a blue BMW. The car was immediately stopped and he was arrested.

The police investigation found that Sengendo had also threatened and attacked another woman earlier the same evening. She told police she had been picked up by a man in a white van from a petrol station near Fore Street. After she got into the vehicle, he held a knife to her throat and raped her. As she attempted to open the door to escape, Sengendo stabbed her seven times. A later medical examination found she had narrowly avoided being fatally injured.

Therasia’s mother Jan said: “I am always thinking about what Therasia must have gone through when she died. Listening to the evidence in court has been heartbreaking. One of the things that keeps on going through my head, is the evidence that one of the witnesses could hear her groaning, I can’t get the thought of her being in pain at his hands out of my head.

“I can’t understand why this man made my family live through Theresia’s murder day after day through a long and difficult Crown Court trial. He knew what he had done but continued to make my family suffer.

“As a family, we will never get over the fact that I have lost a daughter and they have lost their sibling. I will never come to terms with what this person done to my child. He has left a big hole in my heart.”

Chief Superintendent Simon Crick, in charge of policing for Enfield and Haringey, said: “Therasia’s murder and the kidnap of two other women rightly caused significant concern with our community. Everyone has the right to feel safe on our streets, no matter who you are or what you do.

“At the time these offences took place, our officers worked closely with local partners, including the Salvation Army, to provide support to sex workers in the area and protect them from any further harm.

“Our priority remains addressing vulnerability and exploitation linked to sex work. We have a dedicated unit committed to safeguarding sex workers and diverting them to relevant charitable organisations so that they can get the support they need. We hope that by building up these relationships, these women feel confident to come forward and report any information or crimes to us.

“I hope that this sentence demonstrates the Met’s commitment to tackling crimes against sex workers, and violence against women and girls in whatever form it may take.”

If you have been a victim of sexual assault or rape, or you have information about an offender, contact police on 101 or 999 in an emergency – there are specially trained officers who will listen and provide support.

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