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A TAXI driver has been found guilty of murdering a Coventry woman whose body was found dumped in a canal in Bedworth last year.
Mazhar Rashid, of Stoney Stanton Road, Coventry, had denied killing 27-year-old Emma Ewart but was convicted on Monday at Birmingham Crown Court.
The 43-year-old will serve a 17-year sentence for the crime. He was also convicted of perverting the course of justice, for which he received an 18-month sentence to run concurrently.
Although denying having killed Emma, Rashid admitted disposing of her body in the canal on the morning of Thursday 26 May 2011.
He said in court he had spent the previous night with Emma and that when he awoke the following morning, she was dead. He claimed her death was a result of natural causes and he had panicked, deciding to take her body to the canal instead of calling for medical help
A post-mortem could not categorically determine how she died, but the jury concluded she was killed at the hands of Rashid.
Judge Sir Michael Astle said: "Mr Rashid took advantage of a vulnerable young woman for his own sexual purposes and I have little doubt in my mind that he did this to hide from a community and family who would have condemned him."
The police inquiry was initially launched when Emma was reported missing on Tuesday, May 28, but Rashid had already committed the crime.
Her body was found by a member of the public in the canal between Bulkington and Bedworth on Thursday 2 June that year. Rashid was later arrested a few days later.
Detective Constable Andy Fleming, of West Midlands Police, said: "Emma died in terrible circumstances and her dignity was taken from her by Rashid who simply threw her body in a canal.
"I hope this verdict will bring some closure to Emma’s family, our thoughts are with them at this time."
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