The son of a Nigerian government official has been jailed for life for the brutal rape and murder of a high-class escort in an Aberdeen flat.
Bala Chinda broke down in the dock yesterday as he was convicted of carrying out a sustained and violent attack on 37-year-old Jessica McGraa.
The 26-year-old Robert Gordon University student had been on trial at the High Court in Aberdeen accused of throttling and suffocating the mother-of-one after raping her in a rented apartment in Union Terrace.
It was also alleged that after the killing he stole her mobile phones in order to dispose of any evidence linking him to her.
Chinda denied the charges against him but after seven hours of deliberation a jury of seven men and eight women unanimously found him guilty of murder.
He was also convicted of rape by a majority verdict.
As the verdict was delivered Chinda broke down in tears, showing the first sign of emotion since the trial started.
And at one point it appeared he had passed out in the dock, prompting the judge to check if he was ok.
His counsel Ian Duguid QC, said that it was hard for his client to display any remorse towards Miss McGraa or her family as he did not accept his guilt.
The court heard throughout the trial that Chinda had been desperate for sex on the evening before and the morning of Miss McGraa’s death.
After searching for prostitutes and brothels nearby he eventually ended up meeting his victim at the flat in Union Terrace.
However, the diplomat’s son did not have the cash to pay her for her services and killed her during a frustrated rage.
Chinda then left the flat, taking with him her two mobile phones and leaving Miss McGraa lying naked from the waist down on the bed.
It was not until the next day, February 12 last year, that she was found by her landlord.
Jailing Chinda for a minimum of 18 years, Lord Beckett praised the work the police had done to secure a conviction.
He said: “You raped a woman and made her undergo sexual intercourse without the protection of a condom.
“You then murdered her, by smothering her with a pillow, and strangling her, probably using her scarf.
“You then sought to hide evidence which would link you to her.
“You might have got away with this but for the excellent police work which led to your detection, arrest and conviction.
“Your victim was the mother of a young child living in this country. She had hoped to marry.
“She had family in Nigeria who were supported by her to some extent and a brother in Hong Kong, all of whom will painfully feel their loss.
“She was much loved by her friends, two of whom gave evidence, and one of whom described her as being full of fun and life, a life which you ended when she was 37 and had much left to live for.”
Chinda was also placed on the sex offenders register for life.