‘Ripper’ found guilty of murder and sex attacks in four-hour spree

·7-min read
Brian Sengendo killed Therasia Gordon, 44, then dumped her body in woods (Met Police/PA) (PA Media)
Brian Sengendo killed Therasia Gordon, 44, then dumped her body in woods (Met Police/PA) (PA Media)

A devil-obsessed “Ripper” is facing the rest of his life behind bars for killing one woman and attacking two more in a violent four-hour spree.

Sexual predator Brian Sengendo fatally beat and stabbed Therasia Gordon, 44, then dumped her body in woods in Enfield north London last August.

Earlier the same night, the 26-year-old delivery driver targeted two other vulnerable women in the area, the Old Bailey was told.

The defendant, who had a collection of Tarot cards, was recorded on his mobile phone talking about devils and demons, jurors heard.

He told one of the victims “repeat after me, I’m the devil’s child” as he forced her into a sex act, the court was told.

On Friday, Sengendo was found guilty of seven charges, including murder, attempted murder, kidnap, and rape.

Through effective police work... it may well be a serial killer has been caught on day one

Judge John Hillen

The jury was discharged from reaching verdicts on two other counts of kidnap and threatening with a knife in relation to a fourth woman.

Judge John Hillen congratulated the police for their “outstanding” work to catch a potential serial killer before he could strike again.

He said: “Through effective police work… it may well be a serial killer has been caught on day one.

“This is, to use a journalist vernacular, a Ripper case where an offender has been caught at the outset.

“This is an extreme case where there was an attempted killing, an actual killing and rape of sex workers.”

Adjourning sentencing to March 18, the judge said the starting point would be 30 years but he would be considering a whole life order, meaning Sengendo would never be released.

During the trial, prosecutor John Price QC had told jurors that Sengendo carried out the attacks of “escalating gravity” over less than four hours on the night of August 3 last year.

He kidnapped vulnerable women by “tricking” them into his Vauxhall van.

Mr Price said: “He pretended to be a potential client, whereas in truth, no sooner had they got in and shut the door, this man had something very different in mind.”

Police first became aware after an officer went to the aid of an injured woman seen stumbling in the road just after midnight on August 4 last year.

Holding her bleeding neck, the woman was shouting: “I have been stabbed, can someone please help me?”

She told the officer: “I am a prostitute and my client stabbed me, then threw my mobile phone in the bush.”

A resident of New Park Avenue called police shortly before 1am to report an assault in an alleyway behind his house.

Therasia Gordon, 44, was killed by Brian Sengendo and he then dumped her body in woods (Met Police/PA) (PA Media)
Therasia Gordon, 44, was killed by Brian Sengendo and he then dumped her body in woods (Met Police/PA) (PA Media)

He had heard a female voice shouting out “Help, please, no!” and saw a young man striking something inside a van, the court heard.

When police arrived, the van had gone but officers found a large pool of blood on the ground, a mobile phone and two bloodstained knives, jurors heard.

The phone was found to belong to Ms Gordon, a sex worker, and police circulated her details as a “high-risk missing person”.

Just under 32 hours later, a woman out for a morning walk along Burnt Farm Ride, near the M25, saw what she thought was a “life-size doll” among trees.

A day later, early on August 6, a cyclist stopped and took a closer look, and realised it was a woman.

Mr Price said: “He called out to her but got no response. He believed she must be dead and so he telephoned the police.

“It was immediately obvious from the outward appearance of her body that Ms Gordon had suffered a violent death. She had been stabbed and beaten.”

From nearby CCTV cameras, police identified a white Vauxhall Vivaro van which was linked to the defendant’s former address in Enfield.

Sengendo was arrested in the early hours of August 7 last year and told police in interview that he was “confused” but did not answer questions.

However, police found his blood-soaked trainers and Tarot cards in an empty flat next to the defendant’s home.

Police quickly linked a van to Brian Sengendo (Met Police/PA) (PA Media)
Police quickly linked a van to Brian Sengendo (Met Police/PA) (PA Media)

Sengendo’s T-shirt was recovered from the scene of Ms Gordon’s attack.

DNA testing linked it to the defendant, Ms Gordon and the saliva of another victim.

Two phones were recovered – one near to where Ms Gordon’s body was dumped, which was found to contain a picture of the defendant wearing the same T-shirt.

Further examination also revealed the video in which he had forced one of his victims to perform oral sex.

The second phone revealed searches for “Dead girl in Enfield” and “How long does DNA last” in the days between the murder and the discovery of the body.

In his evidence, Sengendo, from Enfield, claimed a man called “KT” who he met through his work as a Yodel delivery driver must have taken the T-shirt and the spare keys to his van.

He denied all the charges against him, saying he believed in the Devil like any Christian would.

Following the guilty verdicts, the prosecution indicated the Crown would not seek a retrial on the outstanding counts.

Ms Gordon’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 heart-breaking.

I will never come to terms with what this person done to my child. He has left a big hole in my heart

Jan, mother of Theresia Gordon

“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.

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.”

Emma Currie, from the CPS, said Sengendo was a “violent and depraved man”.

She said: “The prosecution case included DNA evidence, CCTV footage, telephone evidence and strong witness testimony. One victim described how Sengendo told her that he worshipped the devil and had to kill an innocent.

“The CPS is committed to bringing offenders who commit violent crimes against women to justice.”

Our goal is to create a safe and engaging place for users to connect over interests and passions. In order to improve our community experience, we are temporarily suspending article commenting