Man accused of stabbing Mirina Koppel 140 times in 1994

Marina Koppel, 39, was found dead by her husband David 30 years ago after she was stabbed repeatedly during a “sustained and savage” attack at her home in Marylebone.

Now Sandip Patel, aged 51, is on trial accused of her murder.

He was charged last year after police matched his foot to a bloody print left by the sole of a bare foot on a skirting board in the room where Ms Koppel was murdered.

Patel became a confirmed suspect in 2022, after his DNA matched to a hair found by a scientist in 2008 on a ring which had been on Ms Koppel’s finger.

Prosecutor William Emlyn Jones KC, opening a trial at the Old Bailey, said: “Marina Koppel was brutally murdered.

“It has taken a terribly long time to solve it, but we now have evidence that she had this defendant’s hair stuck to the ring she was wearing when she was attacked and killed; and his bare foot was pressed against the skirting board next to her.

“And that, the prosecution say, can only be because it was him who killed her all those years ago.”

Ms Koppel, who had two children in Colombia, rented the flat in London because she worked as a masseuse and a sex worker, the court heard.

Her husband, who lived in Northampton, “did not necessarily approve” of her work but “accepted it”, jurors were told.

Mr Koppel drove to the capital because his wife was not answering her telephone, finding her body shortly before 11.30pm on the floor of a bedroom where she took clients.

Jurors heard there was blood “everywhere”.

An unbranded plastic carrier bag found by police in Ms Koppel’s kitchen had fingermarks belonging to Patel, then a 21-year-old student, whose father ran a nearby shop, the court was told.

However, officers believed the evidence was not strong enough, as Patel’s fingermarks could have been on the plastic bag because he handled it in his father’s shop and it was possibly brought into the flat by Ms Koppel.

Despite the discovery of the hair during a review of the unsolved case in 2008, technology was not advanced enough for scientists to get a DNA profile, so it was bagged and preserved until 2022, when it was looked at again.

The bloody footprint was found at the scene in 1994 and matched to Patel after he was made a suspect, the prosecutor said.

Mr Emlyn Jones went on: “You may have little trouble concluding that if those footprints were made in Marina’s wet blood, then that can only be because they were left by her killer – someone who was in that room, barefoot, at the time of her blood being on the skirting board.

“All these years later, they have been identified – they are the defendant’s prints – they were made by the sole of his left foot.”

Mr Koppel died in 2005, never discovering who murdered his wife.

Patel denies murder and the trial continues.

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