A man was jailed on Friday, 19th May for the murder of his ex partner.
Bulgarian Kostadin Kostov, 43, was convicted of the murder of fellow Bulgarian Gergana Prodanova at Exeter Crown Court and sentenced to life imprisonment to serve a minimum of 19 years. Kostov and Gergana had three children together. The couple are said to have had a complex and troubled relationship with Gergana moving to Exeter in December 2015 to start a new life. Kostov followed her to Exeter, moving himself into her flat in Mount Pleasant Road in April 2016.
During the trial, the court learnt that when Gergana met another man, Tihomir Todorov, The atmosphere between Gergana and Kostov became strained, the couple barely spoke to each other but Kostov refused to leave.
The court was told that Kostov killed her on 4 August 2016. Kostov the placed Gergana’s body in a suitcase, dragging it through the city centre in the early hours of 7th August, dumping the suitcase by the side of a railway line in Blackall Road.
CCTV footage shows Kostov rolling the suitcase around Exeter last August.
Detective Inspector Gregg Dawe, senior investigating officer, said: “We are delighted with the verdict and the sentence in this case. There was a mountain of evidence against Kostov – more than I have ever seen in a murder investigation – yet he still believed he could somehow get away with this crime.
“Throughout this investigation and trial Kostov maintained that he knew nothing about Gergana’s disappearance or death, but overwhelming evidence has proven that it was he who killed her and disposed of her body.
“He was a violent and jealous man and couldn’t bear to see Gergana happy with someone else. This was an abusive relationship and he could feel control slipping away when she would not take him back. The motive was plain and simple – old-fashioned jealousy. His actions were cold and calculating, blatantly carrying the suitcase in open public view through the city centre.
“I would like to praise the team of detectives from the Major Crime Investigation Team who have worked tirelessly on this case to disprove Kostov’s lies. I would also like thank the Bulgarian police for their assistance with this investigation and members of the public who assisted in the search for Gergana.
“This was a heart-breaking case which has deprived a hard-working mother of her life and her three children of their mother. Our thoughts are with her family at this difficult time. We hope today’s verdict brings some comfort that justice has been done.”