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A man has been jailed for life for murdering a woman while she slept on the steps of a church

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Kieran Rifat, 22 of no fixed address, was handed his prison sentence after he cruelly attacked 41-year-old Kelly Stewart, who had been sheltering on the steps outside Memorial Community Church on Barking Road.
The Old Bailey heard how Rifat initially observed Kelly in the early hours of 26 March last year as she slept. He then approached Kelly at approximately 1am and, without any provocation, beat her and stamped on her. He then he hid her body in a side alley.
It was only when a member of the public visited the church at approximately 15:10 the same day and saw blood stains that they raised the alarm and called police.
A murder investigation was launched. A post-mortem examination found that Kelly had died from multiple head and facial injuries.
Members of the Met’s MIT8 team, of the Specialist Crime North command, undertook an intensive CCTV trawl but much of the footage was of poor quality.
He was known to Kelly via a homeless community outreach centre. But there was no known history between the pair.
One of the Met’s proactive teams identified and arrested Rifat on the street on 1 April 2020. A warrant was executed at an address on Queens Road in Barking the following day.
In the property, officers discovered some of his bloodied clothes in the bath including the distinctive stripped top, and in the kitchen his jeans, which had been freshly laundered.
He was interviewed but declined to make any comment to all questions put to him and provided no defence for his actions.
He pleaded guilty on 23 December 2020, at the Old Bailey to murder. He was sentenced on Thursday, 4 February and will have to serve a minimum of 17 years and 88 days, owing to his time already spent in custody, before he can be considered for release.