Professional conman Rakesh Bhayani, 41, stabbed millionairess Carole Waugh to death in her flat to gamble away her home and savings.
Together with accomplice Nicholas Kutner 48, the addicted gamblers used female impersonators to systematically strip every asset Miss Waugh had ever owned, hoping to hit a ‘million pound jackpot.’
Her furniture and jewellery were sold and bank accounts cleared by the pair, who even emptied the savings fund she had set up for her niece.
They succeeded in netting £350,000 – mainly with a bridging £200,000 loan fraudulently guaranteed on the 49-year-old’s Marble Arch flat.
The money was quickly gambled away and Bhayani lost £200,000 at the roulette tables London’s West End within a few weeks.
Police caught up with them as they were trying to sell the flat for £750,000 to raise even more stake money.
Bhayani and Kutner had both made a career from fraud and would trick wives, partners and friends without a hint of remorse.
One detective who helped track them down said: ‘They were exactly like the two conmen in the Steve Martin film ”Dirty Rotten Scoundrels” but one was a killer too.
‘They were very, nasty men without a single shred of conscience.’
The jury found Bhayani guilty of murder. He was given a life sentence and ordered to serve a minimum of 27 years.
Kutner was cleared of murder but convicted of perverting the course of justice by helping to cover up the killing. He was jailed for 13 years.
Lonely millionairess Ms Waugh sought excitement in sex with strangers and telling tall stories that hid the truth about her life.
Her ‘Walter Mitty’ personality led her to boast of being ‘set up for life’ thanks to her friendship with Colonel Gaddafi and his family in Libya after working in the oil industry.
As well as constant name-dropping, Miss Waugh was also not afraid to show off her prized Cartier jewellery and expensive luxury cars.
In fact, she was an obsessive spend-thrift who hid £5,000 in cash in an airing cupboard at her flat, kept £50,000 in the bank and lived on the proceeds of the escort work she advertised on casual sex websites.
Carole Waugh was born in Haswell in County Durham on 20 June, 1962 and was brought up by her mother after her father Stephen died when she was young.
She spent ten years in Tripoli in Libya working as a payroll clerk for Veba Oil on a tax-free salary of £25,000 a year and earned a reputation as a private woman who preferred to stay out late at night with the locals rather than her work colleagues.
By 1998 she had made enough money to buy the flat in Marylebone, west London, which is today worth more than £650,000.
She returned home when the political situation started to deteriorate and began advertising herself on at least nine different websites including Craigslist, Gumtree, Punternet, Seeking Arrangement, Adultwork, Sugar Daddy, Elicit Encounters and e-harmony.
The flat mortgage had been paid off and she could easily have got an ordinary job but decided to mix business with pleasure.
Using the pseudonyms Sarah and ‘poshtottyfun’, she described herself as ‘not a professional but with girlfriend experience interested in lots of good clean adult fun.’
Dozens of men who responded to the adverts arrived at her flat to find her waiting at her door dressed only in a dressing gown.
In some cases the men became long-term boyfriends. One of them would be Bhayani.
He was just 5ft 4ins tall, a portly man with a beer belly who cannot see further than a few feet without his glasses.
But he may have believed he was a character from a James Bond film when he played at London’s casino tables with a hired leggy blonde at his side.
Born on March 5, 1972 of Indian parentage, Bhayani was a professional conman who was always pretending to be someone else in a life-long career as a ‘grifter.’
One of his favourite personas was that of a consultant cardiologist from St Mary’s Hospital in Paddington.
Escort Ali Fernandez recalled a trip to a casino with Bhayani at around the time Miss Waugh died when he told her he had lost a patient had been ‘operating’ on.
Bhayani boasted of the murder to inmates at Wandsworth jail and even reinacted the stabbing for them on the prison landing.
He described himself to fellow prisoners as ‘a lady killer’ and said:’I’m the one with the charisma – I’m the leader.’
But the vast amounts of cash Bhayani staked on roulette was no fantasy.
Ms Fernandez recalled him peeling off £50 notes from a huge wad in a hotel safe and losing thousands of pounds in a few turns of the wheel.
Sometimes he was up – on February 4, 2011 he went home with £71,000 after a single night at the Playboy club.
But invariably he was down – the next day he lost £72,000 at the same club.
Flush with the fraud money during May and July 2012, he staked £216,150. He did win some of it back – just £10,750.
The sordid way he obtained his stake money was a world way from the free champagne, thick pile carpets and attentive bunny girls of London’s casinoland.
Bhayani was so addicted to gambling he would offer staff double or quits on the toss of a coin when he went to hire a car and would steal from family and friends without a second thought.
He has made 14 court appearances for 95 separate offences and has tried so many scams in betting shops he was once banned from every Ladbrokes in the country.
Bhayani passed bouncing cheques, used other people’s cheque books, counterfeit money and cloned credit cards.
Many of his court appearances were for low level offences when he was desperate for money, like stealing a suit from Marks and Spencer to get a cash refund.
Other frauds were more sophisticated -in 1997 a friend he met in a betting shop was foolish enough to allow Bhayani to look after his home while he went to New Zealand.
While he was away Bhayani stole from the house, cleared out his bank accounts and used his documents and identity to carry out further frauds.
In December 2007 he was convicted of four offences of obtaining a money transfer by deception when he re-mortgaged his brother’s home for him without him knowing.
He also did this to his parents – but they were unwilling to give evidence against him.
In December 2009 he conned £36,000 from a friend and £6,000 from his hapless brother-in-law in a bogus business venture. He gambled away the money as soon as it was in his pocket.
Two years later he was given 18 months for two offences of making a false representation with a view to gain when he used counterfeit cheques to obtain gambling chips.
He was released from this sentence just six weeks before Carole Waugh died.
Bhayani has a daughter and had desperately tried to keep his marriage together by pretending to his wife he was seeking help for his gambling addiction.
He would get Kutner to pose as his case worker who would collect him from his home for ‘treatment’ and phone up his wife to give her regular progress reports.
They even mocked a flat in Kensal Rise as a ‘clinic’ where he was supposed to be staying during the week.
Bhayani would later boast it was leant to him by fraudster Asdil Nadir when he was on the run in Northern Cyprus.
After meeting through her advert on the Gumtree website, ‘mesmerising and beguiling’ Bhayani got Miss Waugh to visit him in jail and lend him cash for his ‘treatment.’
She had loaned him smaller sums after he told her he could double it in a betting opportunity – and he had always delivered.
He was setting her up to borrow a large sum he could never hope to repay – but Miss Waugh was in the thrall of the tubby gambler.
She was convinced he had burgled her flat but Bhayani duped her so completely she described him in a reference as ‘one of the good guys.
Tragically, she would pay for her naivety with her life.
Bhayani and met Kutner in jail and together they plotted carrying out the fraud.
Prosecutor Patrick Gibbs told the Old Bailey: ‘It was a million pound jackpot.’
Kutner was also a gambling addict who has spent most of his life financing his habit through crime.
Born on 5 February 1965, Kutner specialises in buying jewellery through fraud and selling it on and he has made 13 court appearances for 97 offences, beginning in 1986.
He was also known to pose as a wine merchant to fraudulently buy fine vintages which were quickly converted into cash.
Like Bhayani, Kutner was not averse to preying on family and friends – in July 2007 he was asked to house sit for a former girlfriend and ransacked her home.
He was involved with another woman known only as Isabelle – and stole her cashpoint card to remove £400.
She finished with him but began seeing him again and he bought her a diamond engagement ring and pendant.
Kutner then told her the clasp was loose on the ring and pawned it for gambling money.
He later asked her to hire a car for him – and vanished with it, before getting a friend to tell her he was a psychotherapist who had cured Kutner him of his gambling addiction.
But he went on to use her name to buy £5,000 of vintage wines and stole £2,000 she had in her home to pay a builder.
While Bhayani hid his ruthless ability to make dupes part with their money behind an affable exterior, Kutner cannot not help being rude and aggressive.
He also liked to use call girls and stay at hotels where he would often treat staff like dirt.
Kutner demanded hotel workers addressed him as ‘Mr K’ and would scream at those unlucky enough to forget.
He insisted on drinking only Grey Goose vodka with Schweppes bitter lemon and one barman recalled him flying into a rage when the right soft drink was not available.
Despite the fact he has receding hair, pockmarked skin and the bloodshot eyes of a heavy drinker, Kutner was meticulous about his appearance.
He was often seen in finely cut Saville Row suits and a friend from Hatton Garden’s jewellery quarter said he posed as if he was a famous actor and described him as ‘a dandy.
In 2001 Kutner bought £17,500 of jewellery on bouncing cheques and sold the items to gamble.
Kutner never wagered on Bhayani’s scale but even he could lose £5,600 in a single night in a casino in May last year.
He was jailed for four years and would have had his first opportunity to meet Bhayani during their stretch at Wrexham jail together.
They also spent many hours together in the library when they were both at Stamford Hill prison discussing their mutual interest of gambling and suggesting new frauds.
The pair planned Carole Waugh’s murder and perhaps it was in jail that they hit upon the idea of murdering someone then making a fortune by using impersonators to sell their home and assets.
Miss Waugh was killed in her flat in Tressard Court on the night of April 17 by Bhaynai while Kutner was in the flat.
The body was first stashed in a holdall in the boot of a Volkswagen Golf in an underground car park behind the John Lewis department store in Cavendish Square central London.
Meanwhile one fake Carole Waugh was despatched to buy handbags worth more than £5,000 from Chanel and Selfridges using the victim’s Barclaycard.
On 20 April Bhayani and Kutner decided to give themselves a reward using some of the cash.
Kutner went out for the night with a university student who needed help with her fees and then booked into the Sanderson hotel, which describes itself as ‘a world of fantasy and well-being’.
The next day he took the student to a casino and lost several thousand pounds.
Bhayani booked himself into No5 Cavendish Square, tagged as ‘the epitome of opulent leisure.’
They investigated disposing of the body during a three-day stay at a luxury lodge in the Cotswolds before settling on a lock-up garage in New Malden.
Bhayani transferred the body there on the morning of 21 May – just hours before he answered police bail on allegations relating to counterfeit currency.
Over the next two months Kutner posed as Carole Waugh’s brother Chris in an attempt to put her flat on the market.
He also tried to rent it out to two separate tenants at the same time in a desperate attempt to get more gambling money.
When both sets of tenants turned up on 13 July the police were called and Bhayani was arrested.
Kutner was arrested at Heathrow Airport when he returned from a holiday in Majorca with his ex-wife and daughter.
But it was not until 2 August that Ms Waugh’s body was found at the garage in New Malden, south London. She had died of a stab wound to the neck.
Miss Waugh had never forgot her humble unbringings and would go back to the north east regularly to see her mother Margaret, often buying her expensive jewellery.
Tragically her mother Margaret Waugh died just a few months before before her daughter’s killers stood trial
Mr Justice Wilkie told Bhayani: ‘You dumped her body in a bag in the boot of an old car, you then left it in various car parks and latterly left her body to rot in a bag, in a car, in a lockup garage.
‘These actions, dismissive and disrespectful of the remains of a woman who regarded you as a friend demonstrated your utter greed, callousness and total lack of any regard or respect for your victim.
‘Your actions in persisting with your fraud after killing her were breathtakingly wicked and none the less so because you were almost bound, eventually, to be identified as the perpetrator.
‘Your compulsion to feed your addictions to risk taking and gambling and your amorality and selfishness overwhelmed any notion of decency or restraint.’