A LONELY wealthy woman lookking for love by working as an escort was murdered by a conman who may have met her by answering one of her adverts, a court has heard.
Carole Waugh, 49, was stabbed in the neck in her flat in Marylebone, central London, the Old Bailey was told.
She was killed by two professional conmen with gambling habits, and regarded one of them, Rakesh Bhayani, 41, as a friend, Patrick Gibbs QC, prosecuting, told the court.
He said: “She may have first met him through an advertisement of herself as an escort that she had placed on the internet.”
He added: “She thought that he was her friend, but you may decide by the end of this trial that Mr Bhayani doesn’t really do friends.
“Once he had been released from prison, knowing how much she had, he planned that she should die.”
Bhayani and Nicholas Kutner, 48, deny murdering Miss Waugh, who disappeared from her home last year and whose remains were found 14 weeks later.
Mr Gibbs said: “The Crown cannot say whose hand was on the weapon. But whoever struck the fatal blow, we say that Mr Bhayani and Mr Kutner planned it, and were responsible for it, and having taken her life, they then systematically took all her worldly goods as well.”
Miss Waugh lived alone in a flat just off the Edgware Road.
“She wasn’t married, she didn’t have a steady boyfriend. She was, it seems, a lonely woman on the lookout for male company.”
As well as owning a flat worth more than £600,000, she had savings, shares, jewellery and income from working as an escort.
Bhayani and Kutner were professional conmen and lifelong gamblers, Mr Gibbs said.
“They have a long history of tricking people and defrauding people to get their hands on the large sums of money which they require in order to feed their gambling habits.”
They met in prison, and had a taste for high living.
As soon as Miss Waugh was dead, a number of women were used to impersonate her.
“They were rehearsed by Mr Bhayani, nursemaided by Mr Bhayani and usually accompanied by Mr Bhayani around London, and on the telephone, stripping Carole Waugh’s assets.”
Miss Waugh had known Bhayani for quite a while. She visited him in prison and lent him £40,000. She knew Kutner less well, and had not been intimate with him.
Her body was found on August 2, and had been reported missing by relatives on May 7.
“The evidence strongly suggests that she died during the night of April 16/17,” Mr Gibbs said.
From bloodstains in the flat, it appeared she was killed there, on or by her bed. She was stabbed in the neck.
Mr Gibbs said Miss Waugh was something of a Walter Mitty character, with rather fanciful notions about herself and advertised on dating sites and as an escort.
In the last 18 months of her life she met a lot of men through adult work, calling herself Sam. Her user name on a website was posh totty fun, and she wrote that she was not a professional, but an enthusiastic amateur, offering a true girlfriend experience, and interested in good clean adult fun.
Men who had paid her for sex said she was less interested in the money than the company.
Bhayani, of Chamberlayne Avenue, Wembley, north-west London denies murder but admits perverting the course of justice and conspiracy to defraud.
Kutner, of Leighton Road, Kentish Town, north west London, denies murder and perverting the course of justice by concealing the death, but admits conspiracy to defraud.
Elie Khoury, 40, of Spring Street, Paddington, central London, denies conspiracy to defraud.
The trial continues.