Estonian given life term for Mirfield murder

Issue 495

A MAN has been jailed for life after being convicted of the brutal murder of his girlfriend in Mirfield.
Jevgeni Matjuhha, 23, was convicted at Leeds Crown Court of punching and strangling 36yearold Nadija Ondzule to death. He was sentenced to a minimum of 19 years after the jury took little over an hour to reach a unanimous verdict.
Estonian Matjuhha denied murdering Ms Ondzule at their home in Oddfellows Street on January 20, but admitted manslaughter.
Judge Mr Justice Foskett said in sentencing: “If you are released after that period then you will have a life ahead of you. Nadia does not.
“Her son is left without a mother, her parents without a muchloved daughter, and her many friends without a friend who enjoyed everything in life.”
Matjuhha claimed to have ‘lost control’ when she told him she had had an abortion, that the baby was not his and that their relationship was over.
But the jury rejected that after hearing about the force used in the attack and how he had gone on the run around Europe with her bank cards.
Matjuhha showed Ms Ondzule’s dead body to a friend over the internet via a webcam. He claimed he wanted advice about what to do, but the friend hung up. He then looked up sentencing guidelines for killing in England.
Matjuhha, who murdered Ms Ondzule in their bedroom, moved her body onto a bed and covered it. He left a note in Russian next to her which read: “I loved her so much. She was the woman who made me happy.”
Matjuhha next used internet search engine Google to look for prostitutes in Amsterdam. He later advertised on a dating site for a new girlfriend.
He then used Ms Ondzule’s phone to call and text her friends to spread lies to explain her disappearance.
Matjuhha next withdrew hundreds of pounds on Ms Ondzule’s bank cards to pay for his escape, first to Amsterdam, then the Ukraine and on to Estonia.
He even used her SIM card in his mobile to text her mum and teenage son about being out of contact due to needing a hospital operation.
Ms Ondzule’s body lay undiscovered for 11 days until February 1, when Matjuhha phoned a friend of hers to confess. The authorities in Estonia arrested Matjuhha on February 5. He was extradited to Britain under a European Arrest Warrant on May 6.
He claimed in court to recall little of the incident. He told an earlier hearing: “The next thing I remember was I was on the sofa in the drawing room.”
He said he slowly came to, realise something might have happened and went to their bedroom to check.
Matjuhha said: “The first thing I saw was blood around around her head. I lent down and checked her pulse and couldn’t feel one.
“At this moment I was lost. I didn’t know what to do. I felt hysterical. I felt panicked. I didn’t know what to do.”
Matjuhha also claimed he had gone to Amsterdam looking for a euthanasia clinic as he could not live with he thought he had done. But when he discovered that was not available to him, he fled to Kiev and then Estonia, from where he confessed to one of Ms Ondzule’s friends.
Mr Justice Foskett added: “She did not deserve to lose her life in this way. One day you will understand what you have done.”

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