A “parasitic” man befriended a wealthy older woman then killed her and buried the body to plunder her money, a court has heard.
Retiree Norma Girolami, 70, gave 42-year-old Serkan Kaygusuz large amounts of cash, totalling nearly £300,000, after they met at a swimming pool in 2017, the Old Bailey was told.
The jury heard how she had been “flattered” after he made an “advance” in the hot tub at the baths.
Over time their relationship became more of a friendship as Kaygusuz allegedly demanded ever-increasing sums of money – four and five-figure sums every few weeks.
By May 2021, the “money tap which had flowed so freely for so long was switched off”, prosecutor Jocelyn Ledward told jurors.
The reasons were said to have been the death of Ms Girolami’s father, her dwindling funds, or that she had “simply had enough” of jobless Kaygusuz’s demands.
Jurors were told the defendant’s phone was used on August 2 for a series of “sinister searches” online for garden tools, caustic soda, hydrochloric acid, “deed for property transfer” and “will and testament”.
On August 17, there were purchases on his Amazon account for rope, a “soft ball full mesh mouth plug with adjustable belt” which can be used to restrain a person, handcuffs, gloves and plastic overalls, tape and a spading fork tool.
Ms Ledward told jurors: “They can only have had one purpose when acquired by the defendant – to restrain and kill Norma Girolami, to conceal her remains by burying them, and ensuring the defendant did not get dirty and acquire any forensic traces in the process.”
On August 19, 2021, Ms Girolami travelled from her home in Highgate, north London, for a day out at Leigh-on-Sea, in Essex. She was never seen alive again.
Ms Ledward said: “The prosecution case is that Serkan Kaygusuz murdered her, concealed her body, ultimately by burying it, and then set about getting as much money out of her as he could.”
She suggested it was all part of former Lidl supermarket worker Kaygusuz’s “cold-blooded plan”.
Jurors were told the plan was carried out “systematically and with calm and deadly purpose” and born of the “basest of motives” – to get her money.
On the evening after Ms Girolami’s trip to the seaside, the defendant is alleged to have gone to her flat and killed her.
He allegedly went on to pretend to her friends that she was alive and well while systematically taking what remained of the money in her bank accounts.
But Ms Ledward suggested the defendant had underestimated how much Ms Girolami’s friends and cousins knew and cared for her.
Since Ms Girolami was found dead, the defendant had admitted dishonestly obtaining her money and property, and concealing and burying her body.
Divorcee Kaygusuz, of Croach End, north London, has denied murder and the Old Bailey trial continues.