A former Columbian policeman who denies murdering his wife in Hemel Hempstead asked a Hertfordshire officer what sentence he would get, a jury heard today (Monday, July 22).
Alberto Giraldo-Tascon, 55, was put under constant observation at Hatfield police station following his arrest for the murder of his wife Margory.
In a statement read to St Albans crown court, PC Lauren Thompson said: “He asked me how long he would go to jail for murder.
“He said prison in Columbia was dangerous and asked me if prison here was the same.”
The prosecution alleges that after killing Luz Margory Isaza Villega, 50, he burnt her body in woods and hid the remains in a shallow grave. A baby girl they were fostering was in the car with him at time, the jury was told.
The remains of the victim were found at Northchurch, near Berkhamsted on January 17 this year, four days after she went missing.
Giraldo-Tascon, of Ritcroft Street, Hemel, denies murder.
The jury heard he has pleaded guilty to a charge of preventing the lawful and decent burial of his wife, who was known to everyone as Margory.
Opening the case, prosecutor Stuart Trimmer QC said that in January of this year the couple, who had three grown up children, were going through a trial separation, although they were still living under the same roof at their home in Ritcroft Street, Hemel Hempstead.
In September of 2018, with the marriage in “turmoil” and failing, Margory had informed her husband she wanted to separate.
The couple had come to the UK as refugees with their three young children in 1999 from Columbia. There he had been a police officer and it was, Mr Trimmer said, one of the reasons why they had to leave the country. In the UK he worked as a “parking control officer.”
The jury was told the last contact anyone had with Margory was at around 9.30am on the morning of Sunday, January 13 when her daughter Ana, who was on a weekend break in the Netherlands, received a WhatsApp video message from her mother.
It is the crown’s case that she was killed that morning at the family home.
In her statement, PC Thompson said that when she went with colleagues to the defendant’s home in Ritcroft Street, she noticed he had scratches on his face and both his hands were red and swollen and one of his fingernails had a deep cut that looked painful.
When he was cautioned on his arrest for murder, he allegedly said: “Has something strange happened?”
She went on: “He asked me what would happen with rent on his house, gas, electricity and smelly food in his fridge.”
Detective Constable Ben Heath told the jury that following the defendant’s arrest, he had been asked to conduct an urgent interview with him at 4am on January 14 this year in an attempt to find out where Margory was and if she was hurt.
When asked where his wife was, he replied: “She is around in Hemel. I hope she is well. I do not know where she has gone.”
The officer asked: “Is she injured at all?” He replied: “No.”