Today, Thursday 9 March, Svetlana Svedova was sentenced for the murder of Ludmila Poletelova.
The 47-year-old was sentenced at Belfast Crown Court to serve a minimum of 16 years in custody.
Ludmila Poletelova, who was aged 61, was murdered in her home in Limavady in April 2021.
The results of a post mortem confirmed that Ms Poletelova’s death was caused by a severe head injury due to multiple blows.
Detective Inspector Claire McGarvey said: “This was a shocking attack in which Ludmila Poletelova was struck repeatedly, and ferociously, with a hammer. The injuries sustained included multiple skull fractures due to over 50 blows to the head.
“We believe that Svedova went to Ludmila’s home during the afternoon of Tuesday 20 April 2021. It’s here that the attack, which the defendant claims resulted from an argument, took place.
“Ludmila was found dead by a friend, in her own home, on the afternoon of Friday 23 April.
“Svedova initially denied any wrongdoing and it was only after a thorough investigation and working closely with prosecutors in the Public Prosecution Service, that she eventually pleaded guilty. The investigation was backed by CCTV footage and forensic evidence.”
Detective Inspector McGarvey continued: “Ludmila, who was from Latvia, had lived and worked in the town for a number of years. While she kept herself to herself, she was greatly respected and well-liked within the community.
“I would like to thank local people for their assistance with this investigation. Your support has been invaluable. Furthermore, Ludmila’s family have extended their sincere gratitude to those who initiated and supported fundraising to allow Ludmila’s body to be returned to her native Latvia.
“Today my thoughts are with Ludmila’s two sons and two grandchildren who remain heartbroken and distraught by the loss of, and level of violence inflicted upon, their loved one. Indeed, their torment was prolonged by the defendant’s delay in pleading guilty.
“This was a senseless, cruel and brutal loss of an innocent life.”