Man guilty of murdering girlfriend in East Ham

Denisa Silmen was killed by Alin Gabriel Apopei in a vicious attack.

Denisa Silmen was killed by Alin Gabriel Apopei in a vicious attack. - Credit: MPS

An “enraged and jealous” man has been found guilty of murdering his girlfriend in an attack that was recorded on her mobile phone.

Alin Gabriel Apopei, 27, had repeatedly threatened to kill 25-year-old Denisa Silmen and boasted he would get away with it by pretending to be mad, Old Bailey jurors heard.

She was found dead on July 30, 2015 at the home the couple shared in Eversleigh Road, East Ham, having suffered “horrendous injuries.”

During the trial, the court was told that the couple had a “volatile” relationship and Apopei had been violent towards Miss Silmen before.

On one occasion, he told her: “If you will leave me I shall kill you. If I will go to prison I will pretend I am mad, they will put me in hospital and I will get free from there because I have lots of money.”

In February 2015, Miss Silmen visited a friend in Italy and the defendant turned up on Valentine’s Day to surprise her.

During a night out at a Milan nightclub, she said she could not take any more and Apopei slapped her, jurors heard.

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Miss Silmen fled to her mother in Romania but later got back together with her violent boyfriend, jurors heard.

A month before the murder, Apopei laughed and threatened her and a friend, saying: “One day I kill you both.”

On the day of the killing, Apopei was heard by a neighbour to tell his girlfriend: “Look what’s happened, don’t play with fire.”

Her mobile phone was activated, either accidentally or deliberately, and recorded the sounds of the couple apparently having sex before a man is heard to say: “I’m going to kill you now. Shall I give you the first one?” then a slapping noise.

The victim screamed “oh my God”, and Apopei responded: “What did I do to you? Why did you kill me?”

Her last words on the recording were: “You finished me off.”

Afterwards, Apopei changed his clothes and left the flat with Miss Silmen’s mobile phone.

When her friends tried to contact her, he said they would see what happened when you “play with fire”.

Miss Silmen was found in her room, half inside her wardrobe, covered in blood with her suitcase on the bed.

Following his arrest, Apopei behaved “erratically”, often laughing hysterically then becoming aggressive. He said: “I’m guilty. I did do it, but I can’t make prison.”

He described his girlfriend as “a witch” and paced around his cell ranting about devil worship, the court heard.

The court heard psychiatrists had differing opinions on whether Apopei was mentally ill and it was for jurors to decide whether his responsibility for the killing was diminished.

Prosecutor Zoe Johnson QC said: “It is the prosecution case that the defendant deliberately and viciously stabbed Denise to death because he was enraged and jealous at the prospect of her finally leaving him.”

Following his conviction she told the court there was a “sadistic” element to the killing. In a statement, the victim’s mother Monica Silmen said her daughter had come to Britain for a “better life”.

She said: “The light in my eyes died when she died.”

Apopei is set to be sentenced at the Old Bailey tomorrow.